U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Algeria

Algeria (Tier 3)

Algeria is a transit country for men and women trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa en route to Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. These men and women often enter Algeria voluntarily, but illegally, with the assistance of smugglers. Once in Algeria, however, some women are coerced into commercial sexual exploitation to pay off smuggling debts, while some men may be forced into involuntary servitude in construction and other low-skilled work. According to one NGO, an estimated 15,000 illegal sub-Saharan African migrants currently reside in Algeria, of which approximately 9,000 are victims of trafficking. In addition, one NGO maintains that children are trafficked from Niger and Mali. Some Algerian children reportedly are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude.

The Government of Algeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government does not prohibit and punish all crimes of trafficking in persons. It does not draw a distinction between trafficking in persons and illegal immigration and, as such, has not developed policies and programs to address the specific needs of trafficking victims. Algeria does not adequately identify trafficking victims among illegal immigrants. The government did not take serious law enforcement actions to punish traffickers who force women into commercial sexual exploitation or men into involuntary servitude in other sectors. Moreover, the government reported no investigations of trafficking of children for domestic servitude or improvements in protection services available to victims of trafficking.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, Algeria did not report discernible progress in prosecuting trafficking offenses and punishing offenders. Algeria does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but prohibits the trafficking of minors for commercial sexual exploitation through Article 342 and most forms of sex trafficking of adults through its prohibition on pimping in Article 343 of its penal code. The government did not report any confirmed trafficking investigations, arrests, prosecutions, or convictions this year. The government should criminalize all forms of trafficking, consistent with the 2000 U. N. TIP Protocol, which Algeria ratified in 2003, and significantly increase law enforcement efforts against traffickers, including those who traffic migrants and force children into domestic servitude.

Protection

Algeria did not improve its efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The government does not systematically attempt to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable people, such as foreign women arrested for prostitution or illegal migrants. As a result, trafficking victims reportedly are deported or otherwise punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Because victims are not identified as such, the government neither encourages them to assist in investigations against their traffickers, nor provides them with shelter, medical or psychological services, or alternatives to removal to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. Algeria should institute a formal mechanism to identify victims of trafficking, refrain from punishing them, and provide them with comprehensive victim protection assistance.

Prevention

Algeria's efforts to prevent trafficking did not improve significantly over the reporting period. The government continues to show a firm commitment to fighting illegal immigration, and works closely with the European governments of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Malta to prevent the illegal migration and smuggling of people to Europe. Although the Algerian government did not report specific actions taken to prevent trafficking in persons within or through its territory, according to press reports, at least one person was arrested and one trafficking network dismantled during the year. Border officials are not trained in identifying possible trafficking victims, and the government did not pursue public awareness campaigns on trafficking in persons.

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