Madrid – Morocco is an example to follow in the Arab world in terms of reform and modernization, Former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Wednesday.“When we see what is happening in the Arab region and the violence scenes, we can confirm that the Kingdom of Morocco is an example to follow to successfully carry out a reform process in a peaceful environment,” former Spanish PM (2004 – 2011) and former leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) told the Moroccan News Agency (MAP), on the sidelines of a reception held Wednesday night by Morocco’s embassy in Madrid, on the occasion of the Throne Day.Zapatero hailed the “very good” ties between Morocco and Spain, expressing his “gratitude and appreciation to the Kingdom and HM King Mohammed VI for their assistance, understanding and cooperation with Spain in thorny issues such as the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism.” He also highlighted the “great” relationship between Moroccan and Spanish Royal Families, adding that this relationship “will be further consolidated” under the reign of King Felipe VI.
Mrs Atkins’ plea comes a week after the Government opened the National County Lines Coordination Centre with a £3.6 million investment. A minister has urged tech companies to report teenagers suspected of ferrying drugs for gangs as part of a nationwide crackdown on the problem. Victoria Atkins, the crime, safeguarding and vulnerability minister, said Uber and Airbnb must train users to identify victims of grooming who have been forced to transport drugs across along routes called county lines.In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mrs Atkins said: “Any help that major organisations like Uber can give would be very welcome. These huge companies are under quite a lot of public attention in terms of their corporate social responsibility and it would be very interesting if [they]could help us.”Exploited children are made to travel vast distances on trains and in taxis, including Uber cars. Once they reach their destination, they stay in properties rented by gangs, increasingly short-term lets and Airbnb homes.”This is not just a policing matter,” said Mrs Atkins. “We need to make people aware it’s happening so they’re alert to it. We also need the help of train operators, taxi drivers and local authorities.”–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The mother of a child who was groomed by a county lines gang welcomed the minister’s comments. “These kids are operating right under the noses of British Transport Police, on trains, in taxis and in Ubers, but no one is asking anything,” the mother, who asked to remain anonymous told the Telegraph. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. There are now 1,500 lines across the UK, according to the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) latest figures. Up to 10 children could be exploited along each route.Vince O’Brien, head of drugs and firearms at the NCA, said, “We’ve seen gangs take over properties from short term lets to hotels and Airbnb. We know they use rail or rad, which includes any kind of private hire.”A spokesman for Airbnb said it worked closely with authorities in relevant investigations and to train its users. Uber declined to comment.Airbnb added: “We have zero tolerance for inappropriate or illegal activity and permanently remove bad actors from our platform.”The company last month partnered with anti-trafficking organisation Polaris to tackle issues of modern slavery within the sharing economy. It also uses behavioural analysis to identify troublesome hosts and guests from using its service.Uber declined to comment.