Algeria has moved from a category three to a category two in human trafficking according to a report by the US State Department on trafficking in human beings.
This improvement on ranking comes with an observation list and brings Algeria back to the same position it occupied in 2010 amongst the 188 countries surveyed.
According to the report, which was unveiled yesterday in Washington by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Tunisia, Morocco and Afghanistan have ranked better than Algeria which is grouped with Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
The US State Department has noted that although the Algerian government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in human beings, “it is making great efforts to do so”. The report cited an investigation that resulted in the prosecution of 16 traffickers and the identification of 65 potential victims of forced labour which it contrasted with the one in 2015 where no prosecution was recorded.
“Despite their status as illegal immigrants, the Algerian government provided victims with temporary housing, medical assistance and other basic services in a transit centre,” the report added.
In terms of Algeria’s efforts to combat human trafficking, the 2017 report highlights “the publication of a presidential decree in September 2016 which establishes the inter-ministerial committee against trafficking and allocates a dedicated budget to implement its mandate.”
However the report explains how the government, “did not have a standardised mechanism to direct potential victims to protection services managed by governments or NGOs. In addition, due to a lack of identification efforts, the authorities continued to punish potential victims of trafficking for acts that are a direct result of trafficking.”
According to the State Department, “sub-Saharan migrants, mainly from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria, are most vulnerable to trafficking in labour and sex in Algeria, mainly because of their status, poverty and language barriers. Unaccompanied women and women who travel with children are also particularly vulnerable to exploitation.”