The government increased efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders. Algeria criminalized sex and labor trafficking under section 5 of its penal code. Prescribed penalties under this statute ranged from three to 20 years imprisonment, which were sufficiently stringent and, with regard to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Law No.14-01, which criminalized the buying and selling of children younger than the age of 18, prescribed penalties of three to 20 years imprisonment for individuals and groups convicted of committing or attempting to commit this crime; however, this law could be interpreted to include such non-trafficking crimes as migrant smuggling or illegal adoption. The NCPFAT cooperated with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to draft a new anti-trafficking law in order to consolidate all trafficking-related statutes in one place and institutionalize some of the measures currently taken on an ad hoc basis.
NCPFAT is working with the MOJ, the Director General of National Security (DGSN), the Ministry of National Defense, and the National Gendarmerie (Police) on a database on trafficking victims, prosecutions, and convictions; however, the database was not operational at the end of the reporting period.
During the reporting period, the government reported investigating four cases involving 26 alleged traffickers and prosecuting 22 defendants under the anti-trafficking law in three of these cases, as compared with investigating and prosecuting 16 alleged perpetrators last year. Four suspects allegedly exploited two children in child sex trafficking, three suspects reportedly exploited five undocumented sub-Saharan migrants in forced labor and an unspecified number of perpetrators allegedly exploited 12 Malian girls in domestic servitude. While the government did not report specifically convicting any trafficking offenders, it did report sentencing 14 of 79 alleged perpetrators of child labor offenses to jail, some of whom may have been involved in human trafficking. The government did not provide updated information on cases reported in previous years, including the outcome of 16 prosecutions that remained pending at the end of the previous reporting period. The government requested assistance from Nigerien judicial authorities in its ongoing investigation of the September 2016 case against six alleged traffickers, as it continued to search for four alleged traffickers who were at large at the end of the previous reporting period. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.
The DGSN maintained six police brigades to monitor illegal immigration and human trafficking and provided staff with specialized training. It also maintained 50 brigades specializing in combating crimes against children, including trafficking crimes. The government reported working actively through the African Union Mechanism for Police Coordination to increase international coordination in combating trafficking in persons. Algeria hosted the UNODC’s regional North Africa-Sahel forum, which included discussions of human trafficking with representatives from Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Chad, and Burkina Faso. The government also contributed to INTERPOL’s databases on human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The National Police, the MOJ, and the NCPFAT participated in the UNODC’s Working Group on Trafficking in Vienna. Thirty police officers received training on trafficking at the Algiers police academy. The National Police organized a seminar in December 2017 on the judicial police’s role in combating smuggling and trafficking in persons for investigators who interact with sub-Saharan migrants. The government also organized five conferences on trafficking in persons for judges.