Algeria is one of only 19 countries where the US Department of State considers human trafficking to be common.
Rabat – The US Department of State’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report has ranked Algeria as a third tier country in terms of human trafficking—the lowest tier in the report.
Algeria was on the second tier’s watchlist in 2019, before demoting to the third tier in the 2020 report. It joined 18 other countries in this move, including China, Cuba, North Korea, South Sudan, and Syria.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed his department’s report on Thursday, June 25, in an official ceremony. The annual report is the 20th of its kind.
“The Government of Algeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore Algeria was downgraded to Tier 3,” the report reads.
“The [Algerian] government prosecuted and convicted fewer traffickers and identified fewer victims in comparison to last year. The government remained without effective procedures and mechanisms to appropriately and proactively screen for, identify, and refer potential victims to protection services,” the document added.
According to the report, the most vulnerable populations for human trafficking in Algeria are “African migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and individuals in commercial sex.”
Algeria’s measures to deport undocumented migrants have deterred some trafficking victims from seeking assistance or reporting crimes to the police, the report continued.
The report also considers the Algerian government to lack transparency, as “it did not report how many victims received assistance.”
This year is the first time the TIP Report puts Algeria in Tier 3 since 2016. Between 2017 and 2019, the North African country was in Tier 2’s Watchlist.
The report presented more detailed information about human trafficking in Algeria, based on four axes: Prosecution, protection, prevention, and trafficking profile.
The document also gave “prioritized recommendations” to the Algerian government, including an increase in investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of sex and labor trafficking offers, amendments to the trafficking provisions in the penal code, and implementation of standardized procedures for victim identification.
The recommendations also include implementing a formal national victim referral mechanism, training security officers on victim identification, ensuring a safe and voluntary repatriation of foreign victims, and raising public awareness on the indicators and risks of trafficking.
Morocco’s ‘tangible’ efforts
Meanwhile, the report ranked Morocco as a Tier 2 country—a country that only needs to implement a few measures to reach the first tier.
The category contains 89 countries, including several developed countries, such as Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Italy, and Japan.
Morocco has been in the second tier in the TIP Report since 2015 after the US Department of State removed it from the Tier 2’s Watchlist.
“The Government of Morocco does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore Morocco remained on Tier 2,” the report reads.
According to the report, Morocco’s efforts include increased prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, as well as increased identification of trafficking victims and referral to care.
However, the document considers that several areas do not meet the minimum standards, citing the relocation of some sub-Saharan African migrants from the regions near Ceuta and Melilla, northern Morocco.
The report also suggested a series of recommendations for Moroccan authorities, including the creation of a national victim referral mechanism, the training of officials, the non-penalization and protection of victims, and the implementation of a nationwide anti-trafficking awareness campaign.