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Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Algeria

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 16 June 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Algeria, 16 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a4214d5b.html [accessed 31 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

ALGERIA (Tier 2 Watch List)

Algeria is a transit country for men and women trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. These men and women enter Algeria, voluntarily but illegally, often with the assistance of smugglers. Some of them become victims of trafficking; men are forced into unskilled labor and women into prostitution to pay smuggling debts. Criminal networks of sub-Saharan nationals in southern Algeria facilitate transit by arranging transportation, forged documents, and promises of employment. Among an estimated population of 5,000 to 9,000 illegal migrants, some 4,000 to 6,000 are believed to be victims of trafficking, of whom approximately 1,000 are women.

The Government of Algeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In January 2009, the government approved new legislation that criminalizes trafficking in persons for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation. The law will enter into force when published in the government's Official Journal. The new law represents an important step toward complying with international standards, though its implementation is as yet untested. Despite these efforts, the government did not show overall progress in punishing trafficking crimes and protecting trafficking victims and continued to lack adequate measures to protect victims and prevent trafficking; therefore, Algeria is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.

Recommendations for Algeria: Proactively implement the new anti-trafficking law by training law enforcement and judicial officials, investigating potential offenses, and prosecuting offenders; strengthen the institutional capacity to identify victims of trafficking among illegal migrants; improve services available to trafficking victims, such as shelter, medical, psychological, and legal aid; ensure victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; undertake a campaign to increase public awareness of trafficking.

Prosecution

The Algerian government showed minimal progress in addressing human trafficking through law enforcement means during the reporting period. In January 2009, the government approved legislation that criminalizes all forms of human trafficking and prescribes penalties of three to 10 years' imprisonment for base offenses. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. As of this report's writing, the government had not used the new law to prosecute, convict, or punish any trafficking offenders. Algerian law enforcement authorities could have investigated and prosecuted suspected trafficking crimes using trafficking-related statutes existing before the new law's enactment; however, no such law enforcement efforts were reported during the reporting period.

Protection

The Government of Algeria did not improve services or protections for victims during the reporting period. It did not employ any systematic procedures for the identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as foreign women arrested for prostitution or illegal migrants. Because there were no procedures to identify victims, they remained at risk of detention for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked. The government did not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they faced hardship or retribution. According to local NGOs, the government does not provide specialized training to government officials to detect trafficking or assist victims. The government does not provide medical, counseling, or legal services to victims, nor is there any referral service to other providers. However, government-operated health clinics that provide emergency care to crime victims are available for foreign and Algerian victims of trafficking. A program run by an NGO to assist women who are victims of violence is available to women victims of trafficking. There is no formal program to encourage trafficking victims to assist with the investigation and prosecution of offenders.

Prevention

During the past year, the Algerian government did not conduct campaigns to raise public awareness of trafficking in persons. To date, the government has not developed a formal anti-trafficking policy or national plan of action that would complement its new law, nor has the government published a record or assessment of its anti-trafficking activities.

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