Algeria Trafficking Routes Algeria is a country of origin and transit for trafficking in persons. Algerian women and children are trafficked to Austria, Belgium, Italy, and other European nations. Also, in some cases, armed militants have kidnapped and trafficked women within the country. Finally, some reports also indicate that Algeria is a transit country for trafficking in persons from the West African countries. Those people are brought across the Sahara Desert to various points in Algeria and then taken to Southern and Western Europe. Factors That Contribute to the Trafficking Infrastructure Conditions of poverty, cultural specificity, war, and armed conflict are overwhelming in Algeria. Studies cite the modernization, urbanization, and division of communities and the disintegration of family structures as contributing to increased trafficking.1 The nation has been home to severe political and civil unrest for many years. As a result of the political situation in particular, many armed fundamentalist and terrorist organizations are currently active within the country. Those organizations frequently kidnap and abduct young Algerian women and force them into temporary marriages or subject them to rape and extreme physical violence. In many cases, those women are subsequently murdered by their captors.2 Forms of Trafficking Girls and children born out of wedlock, victims of physical abuse and exploitation, the nomadic Sahrawi people (especially Sahrawi women) in the southwest, and Malian and Nigerian refugees are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation. Algerian children are increasingly victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Children are also being forced to work in the domestic service industry, as street vendors, and as couriers.3 Armed militants are known to traffic girls within the country. These girls are frequently forced to execute temporary marriages, which can last from a matter of hours to several months or even years. 4 Government Responses Algeria has no explicit antitrafficking legislation. Solicitation for prostitution is illegal under the Criminal Code of Algeria. 5 The code also prohibits aiding, assisting, or protecting the prostitution of others; sharing the 1 End Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking (ECPAT) International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 2 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 3 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 4 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. profits of a person who is regularly engaged in prostitution; living with a person who is regularly engaged in prostitution; and procuring or enticing a person into prostitution.6 Those offenses are punishable by a fine and imprisonment for 2 to 5 years. Punishment may increase to 5 to 10 years when the offense is committed against a minor under the age of 18 or when the offense is accompanied by threats, duress, violence, assault, abuse of authority, or fraud.7 That enhanced penalty is also imposed in cases of international trafficking for the purposes of prostitution when the ―victims of the offense are delivered into prostitution outside the Algerian territory‖8 or ―upon their arrival or shortly after their arrival in the Algerian territory.‖9 The code similarly prohibits keeping, managing, causing to operate, financing, or contributing to the financing of an establishment for the purpose of prostitution.10 In addition, the Criminal Code prohibits any indecent acts or attempts at such acts—regardless of whether violence is used—against children of either sex under the age of 16. Such acts are punishable by imprisonment of 10 to 20 years.11 Algeria has some laws that address the issue of sex tourism. Travel agencies are prohibited from organizing or even advertising sex tours and trips. In addition, Algerian laws against sex tourism and sexual offenses have extraterritorial reach: they apply to offenses committed abroad by Algerian nationals.12 Foreign nationals may remain in Algeria with a tourist visa for up to 3 months. Work visas are granted to individuals 18 and older for 1 year at a time. They are not issued to domestic workers. Business visas and student visas are also available. If foreign nationals are found working in the commercial sex industry or engaging in a related activity, the Algerian government will deport them. When a female foreign national who is engaged in prostitution is arrested, she is asked whether she has been sexually exploited, trafficked into the country, raped, tortured, drugged, or deprived of her travel documents. Children who are foreign nationals are also arrested and deported if they are found in prostitution.13 When foreign nationals are deported, their fingerprints and photos are taken. The Algerian police and immigration service are responsible for the deportation proceedings. The state pays for the individual’s deportation if his or her home country will not pay. Algerian law also penalizes trafficked persons for the forgery of travel documents.14 5 Article 343. Public solicitation of sex or debauchery is also prohibited by article 347, which provides that ―any person who by gestures, words, writings, or any other means, publicly solicits persons of either sex to engage in debauchery shall be punished by imprisonment for 2 months to 1 year and a fine.‖ 6 Article 343. 7 Article 344. 8 Article 344(7). 9 Article 344(8). 10 Article 346. The article defines an establishment as ―a hotel, furnished house, inn, drinking place, restaurant, club, dancing club, place of live entertainment or related premises, or any other place open to the public or used by the public which regularly allows or tolerates one or more persons to engage in prostitution within such an establishment or its related premises or seeks clients for the purpose of prostitution in such an establishment.‖ In addition, article 348 prohibits an owner from allowing a person to regularly engage in debauchery in a place that is not used by the public but is available to the offender. 11 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 12 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 13 Response to Law Enforcement Survey, received 24 October 2002. 14 Response to Law Enforcement Survey, received 24 October 2002. The government does criminalize the laundering of proceeds of trafficking. Domestic law also has anticorruption provisions that penalize bribe-taking and similar practices. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for implementing anticorruption legislation and monitoring enforcement. Also, trafficking in persons is considered to be an organized criminal activity under domestic law.15 The government of Algeria acknowledges that prostitution, especially child prostitution, is a serious problem in the country and reports that the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health are taking some measures to assist young women who are in prostitution and that the Ministry of Interior is investigating the problem of child prostitution.16 The government recognizes that the problem of trafficking in persons is inseparable from the problem of prostitution.17 However, there have been few campaigns to raise public awareness of the issue of commercial sexual exploitation, which is still regarded as a taboo subject by the vast majority of the society.18 There are several government-sponsored victim assistance initiatives. Those initiatives include rape crisis centers and programs sponsored by the Ministries of Justice and Health to assist young girls involved in prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation.19 Multilateral Initiatives Algeria participates in several multilateral initiatives against trafficking in persons. For instance, within the framework of ―5+5 Dialogue,‖ Algeria signed the Tunis Declaration at the Ministerial Conference on Migration in the Western Mediterranean in October 2002. Other member countries include France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Mauritania, Portugal, Spain, and Tunisia. The declaration discusses the need to prevent ―irregular migration,‖ which includes trafficking.20 The Algerian national security chief has also discussed with representatives of Interpol Algeria’s cooperation in combating organized crime, particularly trafficking in persons.21 15 16 Response to Law Enforcement Survey, received 24 October 2002. ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 17 Alice Leuchtag, ―Human Rights, Sex Trafficking, and Prostitution: Perspectives and Prostitution,‖ The Humanist 63, no. 1 (January 2003): 10. 18 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 19 ECPAT International Online Database, November 2002, http://www.ecpat.net. 20 Tunis Declaration, issued at the 5+5 Dialogue Ministerial Conference on Migration in the Western Mediterranean, Tunis, 16–17 October 2002. 21 ―Algeria: National Security Chief, Interpol Head Discuss Cooperation,‖ Global News Wire—Asia–Africa Intelligence Wire, 2 April 2003.