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The Story of Moroccan Mule Women in pictures

Our giving back project for 2017 to 2019

Moroccan women face a dangerous daily toil, carrying large bales of duty-free goods back from the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla. Somepackages weigh more than the women themselves.
A woman waits with her package. A tax loophole means that, as long as the women can carry their bales, the packages are classed as personal luggage and are therefore duty free.
"I have family who must eat and I have four children, and no husband to help - I divorced him because he beat me." Latifa a Mule Women
Pushing a package on a skateboard across the border. The job is usually a last resort for the women, most of whom are widows, divorcees, or have husbands too ill to work.

The Shameful Story Of The Women Of Morocco

People wait at the border crossing. An increasing number of unemployed Moroccan men have started carrying bales as well, forcing some of the women out of work.
The border is only open for a certain length of time each day, and some of the women will make two or three trips per day.

The Untold Story Of The Mule Women

The women’s packages can weigh up to 80kg.
The women earn around $4 to $7 per trip.
The American Chamber of Commerce says more than €1.4bn worth of goods are carried across the border by the ‘mule women’ each year.
Maria says that her two oldest girls aren't in school they stay at home and look after their little sister while their mother is at Barrio Chino. They worry about their mother.
The work is dangerous and several women have been killed in human crushes in the rush to get through the border before it closes.
Women wait with their packages at the border crossing.
"If I could find another job cleaning houses or cooking, I wouldn't do this. But at the moment, there's no other work." Hasna a Mule Women

"The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allaah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allaah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower." (Quran: Surat Al Baqarah:261)

Bookhalalhomes donates one percent of each booking to the community of the Mule women in Morocco.

How we will help

Many of the women who work as porteadoras are divorced or separated, single mothers providing for their families. Life is difficult for them in Morocco's traditional society, and often this is the only work they can get. These are women who are risking their lives - there have been deaths as a consequence of this physical labour. It's carried out in conditions of semi-slavery.

We will help this community by creating alternative local jobs, rebuild their homes and make sure that their children receive an education to prevent them for this type of work in the future.

Watch the mule women in real life

Created by Karima Bihaki

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