In response to the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that rattled the region of Al-Haouz on September, humanitarian aid poured into the area.
However, a recent array of disconcerting incident occurred, questioning the intentions of many volunteers and people who flocked the villages.
Recently, a group of Syrians and Palestinians went to the devastated area to film videos with women and children to generate profits from TikTok.
The harrowing earthquake left a whole community in dire need of assistance to overcome the serious repercussions. Fortunately, there was an outpouring of humanitarian aid sent to the quake-affected victims, but many people were caught live-streaming with members of the affected community to generate profit from TikTok.
Trying to learn more about this incident, MoroccoLatestNews contacted Mouad Aboukassim, a content creator on Instagram, who exposed the accused individuals through his Instagram stories.
Concerns rose among Moroccans online when Aboukassim learned that there was a group of individuals who reached the quake-stricken areas for apparently a different purpose. They were not only there to provide humanitarian aid but also to film videos with the victims of the earthquake and share them publicly on their TikTok accounts.
“When I was in my tent, the residents of that village informed me that those guys were disturbing the residents. They were filming videos of them. As soon as I came out of the tent, I noticed a Syrian man filming a video with a young boy.” Aboukassim said.
He added, “I felt uncomfortable and concerned with the scene as a man had singled out a young boy from the group, taking him aside, and live-streaming with him on TikTok.”
Aboukassim explained that it was late at night, and in an isolation setting that raised red flags.
When Aboukassim approached the Syrian man, the latter appeared a little bit overwhelmed and denied that he was filming a video with the young boy, presenting his TikTok account as proof. However, the young victim confirmed the Syrian man was indeed live-streaming on TikTok, according to Aboukassim.
Despite his denial of live streaming with the children on TikTok, several screenshots were sent to Aboukassim proving otherwise, and showcasing that the accused individual was indeed broadcasting live with the young boy in the middle of late night.
The situation escalated when Aboukassim discovered that there were additional videos on the Syrian man’s phone, but this time featuring women from the affected villages. The Syrian guy defended his actions by saying that those videos were not published publicly.
However, the situation took a more troubling turn when Aboukassim learned that there was actually a group of 6 to 7 individuals, including Syrians and Palestinians who arrived from Sweden and were involved in similar filming activities. They claimed that they came to the earthquake-affected villages with the aim of providing humanitarian aid to the victims.
Even though one member of that group explained that they were filming videos for TikTok with good intentions, and he affirmed they had gone too far by including children in their content.
The residents of Tiniskt altered the local authorities to necessary take action against this group of foreigners disguised under their benevolent work.
The investigation was launched as soon as the authorities learned about the incident, with the aim of determining the identities and motives of those accused individuals behind their activities, according to Aboukassim
Taking this incident into his own hands, Aboukassim exposed the activities of that group of Syrians and Palestinians on his Instagram stories, which caused widespread concern among Moroccan netizens about the activities of people who go to the earthquake-affected areas disguised under the name of ‘volunteering’.
As the residents of Tiniskt try to overcome the serious repercussions left by the harrowing earthquake, the privacy and dignity of those victims must be respected by all means by those who went there to provide help.
Making content from the heart-wrenching condition of the earthquake victims actually is not something that just happened yesterday. Many Moroccan social media ‘influencers’ dared to create content on their social media platforms with the sole aim of increasing their following and gaining more popularity.
Last week, Moroccan internet users launched the hashtag “Crisis profiteers” to expose those who were involved in these shaming activities.
Several similar incidents of human trafficking were revealed, as many individuals filmed videos with children and women from the earthquake-affected areas for their own benefit, and the protection of their dignity and privacy has become necessary more than ever.
Article 24 of the Moroccan Constitution states that “everyone has the right to the protection of their private life.”
According to the Moroccan Criminal Code, article 1-447, “Anyone who, without the consent of the person concerned, disseminates, records or transmits, by any means whatsoever, words, images or sounds of a private nature, shall be punished by imprisonment for one to five years and a fine of MAD 5,000 to MAD 50,000.”
As cases of similar incidents are on the rise, the protection of privacy as well as the dignity of people affected by the earthquake has become a serious concern.