Moroccan Women Porters – Heroism and Hardship on the Border

Inés Benítez – IPS – Tuesday, 04 February 2014 (originally published Jan 28)

Morrocco Women carring heavy loads
Women carry heavy loads on foot across the border from Spanish enclaves to Morocco. Image: Courtesy of Cortesía de José Palazón/Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de la Infancia

MÁLAGA, Spain, Jan 28 2014 (IPS) – Before sunrise, a Moroccan woman waits her turn at the pedestrian border control separating her country from the Spanish city of Melilla. Hours later she crosses over, takes up an 80-kilo bundle of merchandise and carries it back to her country, for a payment of less than six dollars.

Every day thousands of women like her cross the border posts between Morocco and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves in the north of Africa, to pick up heavy loads of goods and carry them across the border on foot, a trade worth millions of euros that is profitable to business on both sides.

“They are single mothers, widows, abused women, with disabled husbands, women excluded by society, who turn to contraband in order to make ends meet,” union leader Abdelkader El-Founti of the Melilla General Workers’ Confederation (CGT) told IPS . . .

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