Female Moroccan porters carry bundles of goods on their backs to transport across the El-Tarajal border from Spain's North African exclave of Ceuta into Morocco, on September 20, 2017. AFP / FADEL SENNA
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Along the border between Spain's North African enclave Ceuta and Morocco, thousands of women eke out a living lugging back-breaking loads of goods in an "organized trafficking" operation tolerated by officials. Nicknamed "mule women" on the Spanish side of the frontier, the Moroccan women sometimes struggle under burdens heavier than their own body weight, risking their lives for the job.It is estimated that some 15,000 female porters tread the route from Ceuta to Morocco, even if the daily number is lower after the Spanish authorities established a limit of 4,000 people each day.However, some 65 percent of women who work as porters do not come from areas along the frontier, Benaissa said, meaning that they have to pay bribes to be registered as locals.While Moroccan officials have repeatedly claimed that they will step in to rectify the situation, activists say that too often they themselves were involved.
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