A study has revealed that around a quarter of those in juvenile detention in Spain come from Morocco and as many as three in ten illegal migrants have committed some sort of crime.
According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there are at least 5,500 supposedly underage Moroccans in Spain, the vast majority of whom live in the country’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
A study conducted by the Spanish Secretary of State for Security Affairs on links between illegal migration and crime also found that Moroccan minors made up nearly a quarter of those in juvenile detention, Le360 reports.
The report claims that there is such a high rate of crime among Moroccan minors due to the Spanish legal system being far laxer regarding underage criminals than their native country.
Most of the Moroccan minors incarcerated in Spain are said to have been involved in drug trafficking, prostitution, cases of theft, or rape.
The Spanish government is reportedly concerned over the situation with the Moroccan minors, as many are vulnerable to drug trafficking gangs, child prostitution, and are often targetted by radical Islamic jihadist groups as well.
To combat the potential issues, the Spanish Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour has created several reception centres in an effort to house vulnerable minors who have no relatives in Spain.
Morrocan minor migrants committing crime has also been an issue in France in recent years. In 2018, Moroccan police were brought to Paris to help identify and deal with the issue of minor migrant crime.
While the operation saw around 1,500 minors arrested, just six were actually deported back to Morocco according to a report from October of 2018.
Just months later in February of 2019, a Moroccan migrant was arrested in Paris after stabbing eight people in what was described as a random attack.
Since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, European Union member states have taken in at least 210,000 supposedly underage migrants.