Algeria (Tier 3)

Algeria is a transit and, to a lesser extent, a destination and source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Most commonly, sub-Saharan African men and women enter Algeria voluntarily but illegally, often with the assistance of smugglers, for the purpose of traveling to Europe. Some of these women are forced into prostitution. Criminal networks which sometimes extend to sub-Saharan Africa and to Europe are involved in both smuggling and human trafficking. The "chairmen," or leaders, of the "African villages" – small non-Algerian ethnic enclaves located in and around the southern city of Tamanrasset – are among those responsible for forcing women into prostitution. To a lesser extent, some sub-Saharan African men, mostly from Mali, are forced domestic workers; homeowners sometimes confiscate identification documents to coerce and to maintain their labor. Some Algerian women are also forced into prostitution. Civil society groups believe that, as Europe tightens its border controls, Algeria is becoming more of a destination for both undocumented migration and trafficking. Over the past year, the "cost" – both in terms of fees and threats of exploitation – of a migrant's trip to and through Algeria have increased due to a greater crackdown against undocumented migration. One 2011 report also noted that 23 Algerian children and six men were identified as trafficking victims in Norway.

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 made no discernible effort to enforce its 2009 anti-trafficking law. It also failed to identify and protect trafficking victims and continued to lack adequate measures to protect victims and prevent trafficking.

Recommendations for Algeria: Proactively implement the anti-trafficking law by training law enforcement and judicial officials, investigating potential offenses and prosecuting alleged offenders, and establishing necessary legal structures; establish capacity to identify victims of trafficking among illegal migrants; ensure that trafficking victims are offered necessary assistance, such as shelter, medical, psychological, and legal aid; ensure identified victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; establish partnerships with relevant international organizations and NGOs in source countries to ensure safe and voluntary repatriation for trafficking victims; and undertake a campaign to increase public awareness of trafficking, including on the differences between human smuggling and trafficking.


The Algerian government made no efforts to address human trafficking through investigations, prosecutions, or convictions during the reporting period. Algeria prohibits all forms of trafficking under Section 5 of its criminal code, enacted in March 2009. Prescribed penalties under this statute range from three to 10 years' imprisonment, which can be increased to 20 years' imprisonment if certain aggravating circumstances are found. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed under Algerian law for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government did not report investigating or prosecuting any trafficking offenses, or convicting or punishing any trafficking offenders during the year. Some of the African village "chairmen" have close ties to the Algerian police, and an NGO noted that some police released arrested migrant women in prostitution and sex trafficking victims back to their pimps. Newspaper reports in October indicated that a new national police brigade was established in southern Algeria specifically dedicated to fighting trafficking in persons, but there was no confirmation this had occurred, and government officials were not aware of its existence. Training cited in the 2010 TIP Report and provided by the Ministry of Justice to judges and prosecutors does not appear to have led to any increased anti-trafficking actions. The government did not accept an offer of anti-trafficking training from a foreign government.


The Government of Algeria made no discernible progress in protecting victims of trafficking over the last year. It did not demonstrate development or use of systematic procedures for the identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as foreign women arrested for prostitution or undocumented migrants. NGOs reported that some trafficking victims were jailed for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked – such as engaging in prostitution or lacking adequate immigration documentation. Deported migrants, some of whom may have been trafficking victims, received a liter of milk and some bread and were transported to desert borders with Mali and Niger where – on occasion – they were received by officials from other countries. NGOs reported that in some cases, migrants died in the Saharan desert. The government did not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they faced retribution or hardship. The government did not provide counseling or legal services to victims, nor did it refer victims to other potential service providers. There were no government-operated shelters, and civil society groups were prohibited from operating any such shelters because they would be penalized for harboring undocumented migrants. Government-operated health clinics continued to be available for trafficking victims, and some victims used these services. However, a number of victims were either not aware of these clinics or declined to use them due to fear of deportation. There is no formal program to encourage trafficking victims to assist with investigation and prosecution of offenders.


The Algerian government made no prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government did not conduct a public awareness campaign on trafficking in persons. It did not have a formal anti-trafficking policy or a national plan of action to complement its anti-trafficking law. It did not demonstrate transparency in its anti-trafficking efforts through public reporting, nor did it attempt to forge effective anti-trafficking partnerships with civil society organizations. The government did not take measures to establish the identity of the populations most at risk of being trafficked. Press articles noted that clients were arrested, which can reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Some of the people in prostitution arrested in these raids may have been sex trafficking victims. Government officials report that there is an inter-ministerial group working on trafficking, though no data were available to confirm this group's makeup, authority, or date of establishment, or whether it met during the reporting period.


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