Slavery in Algeria

Overview

 

Algeria is a transit and, to a lesser extent, destination and source country for women subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking and, to a lesser extent, men subjected to forced labour. Civil society groups report Algeria is increasingly becoming a destination for both undocumented migration and human trafficking. Criminal networks, which sometimes extend to sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, are involved in human trafficking and smuggling. Sub-Saharan African men and women, often en route to neighbouring countries or Europe, enter Algeria voluntarily but illegally and frequently with the assistance of smugglers. Many of these migrants, unable to pay off smuggling fees once they arrive in Algeria, become indebted to traffickers. Australian organisation Walk Free suggests that there are as many as 248,000 people in slavery in Algeria.

 

Female migrants may be forced into prostitution, domestic service, and begging. Diplomatic and NGO sources indicate that Nigerien (from Niger) female migrants begging in Algeria may be forced labour victims and often carry children sometimes rented from their mothers in Niger. Sub-Saharan African men endure domestic servitude; employers often confiscate their identification documents, coercing them to remain in the home to work.

 

Illegal sub-Saharan migrants from Anglophone countries remain particularly vulnerable to forced labour and sex trafficking in Algeria, primarily due to poverty and language barriers. Foreign women and children, primarily sub-Saharan migrants, are forced into prostitution in bars and informal brothels; the traffickers are often the victim’s co-nationals. Algerian women, and to a much lesser extent children, endure sex trafficking in Algeria. In 2014, the media and an international NGO reported Vietnamese migrants were forced to work on construction sites for Chinese contractors in Algeria.

 

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 vigorously investigate or prosecute sex trafficking or forced labour crimes. It continues to conflate human trafficking and smuggling, and some officials deny that trafficking exists in the country. The government has reported its first conviction ever under the antitrafficking law, but it did not provide any details other than the nationality of the victims. The government does not identify victims among vulnerable groups, Due to lack of victim identification procedures, trafficking victims are frequently subject to arrest and detention.

 

Thousands of migrants and refugees have arrived in Algeria in recent years, mostly from neighbouring Mali and Niger. Libya used to play host to the majority of refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, but since that country descended into chaos following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Algeria has become the main destination for the region's refugees. Many transit through Algeria headed for Europe.

 

 

Legislation

 

Algeria prohibits all forms of trafficking under Section 5 of its criminal code, enacted in February 2009. Prescribed penalties under this statute range from three to ten years’ imprisonment

 

Law No.14-01, adopted in February 2014, criminalizes the buying and selling of children under the age of 18 years,

which provides prison terms of three to 20 years’ imprisonment

 

The government appears to make minimal law enforcement efforts to address human trafficking.

 

 

Slavery in Algeria