HRC-led research project report on the determinants of anti-trafficking efforts in Algeria released by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law

London, September 2022

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) published its findings on the determinants of anti-trafficking efforts in Algeria. Funded by the United States Government, the research was part of a wider project that seeks to improve the anti-trafficking efforts of various national governments.

The project analysed the specific factors that may have influenced the political will of the national government (in this case Algeria) to take comprehensive anti-trafficking efforts. Beyond looking at existing indicators and how they correlate with State’s anti-trafficking efforts, the research sourced and captured the views of experts and stakeholders working in counter-trafficking at the national level, including legislators, policymakers, and service providers. 

In Algeria— which was ranked as a tier 3 country by the US Department of State 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report —the project identified and developed 15 new determinants to capture Algeria’s specific experience of anti-trafficking efforts. 

The most important determinant has been by far Algeria’s policy of securitisation which is strongly supported by the political and military elite. The study noted that the determinant was triggered by several factors such as regional instability and a downward economic situation. The study further underlined that in its effort to combat external threats the government of Algeria has conflated human trafficking with terrorism, smuggling, the arms trade, and the drugs trade. In 2017, efforts to reform its anti-trafficking policies regarding migrant workers were strongly opposed.

In relation to victim profiles, the government has prioritised issues of child begging against other forms of trafficking. The study noted that Algeria’s domestic legal framework requires proof of compulsion to establish trafficking while the lack of expertise around victim identification meant that unaccompanied begging children are easily ‘provable’ as victims.

In relation to the Covid 19 pandemic, the research found that t pandemic made no impact on Algeria’s anti-trafficking policy and the government did not take any measures to protect victims of trafficking.

The other determinants considered are political will; acknowledgement and framing of trafficking; data and research; culture, victimhood, and discrimination; religion and morality; levels of migration; governance, politics, and corruption; partnerships; international law; external monitoring, State reputation and (threat of) sanctions; case law; the role of civil society organisations including survivors’ groups; external conditions and external funding; training and level of expertise.

Despite the severe limitation in securing interviews with government officials and the lack of informative literature, HRC and its researchers took several steps to explore the broad range of possible determinants for anti-trafficking efforts including (but not limited to): public awareness of the issues; the adoption of international instruments; decisions of courts and tribunals; rankings in international indices; pressure by donors; civil society engagement; events or occurrences; and responses to broader migration issues.

It was HRC’s second research project with BIICL. In 2021, HRC conducted a similar study in Bahrain.

Read the full report here.