As reported over the past five years, Algeria is a transit and destination country and, in very isolated cases, a source country for children subjected to sex trafficking and men subjected to forced labor. Undocumented sub-Saharan migrants, primarily from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria, are most vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking in Algeria, mainly due to their irregular migration status, poverty, and language barriers. Unaccompanied women and women traveling with children are also particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Sub-Saharan African men and women, often en route to neighboring countries or Europe, enter Algeria voluntarily but illegally, frequently with the assistance of smugglers or criminal networks. Many migrants, impeded in their initial attempts to reach Europe, remain in Algeria until they can continue their journey. While facing limited opportunities in Algeria, many migrants illegally work in construction or engage in prostitution to earn money to pay for their onward journey to Europe, which puts them at high risk of exploitation. Some migrants become indebted to smugglers, who subsequently exploit them in forced labor and sex trafficking upon arrival in Algeria. For example, female migrants in the southern city of Tamanrasset—the main entry point into Algeria for migrants and for the majority of foreign trafficking victims—are subjected to debt bondage as they work to repay smuggling debts through domestic servitude, forced begging, and forced prostitution. Some migrants also fall into debt to fellow nationals who control segregated ethnic neighborhoods in Tamanrasset; these individuals pay migrants’ debts to smugglers and then force the migrants into bonded labor or prostitution. Tuareg and Maure smugglers and traffickers in northern Mali and southern Algeria force or coerce men to work as masons or mechanics; women to wash dishes, clothes, and cars; and children to draw water from wells in southern Algeria. Victims also report experiencing physical and sexual abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers. Many sub-Saharan migrant women in southern Algeria willingly enter into relationships with migrant men to provide basic shelter, food, income, and safety, in return for sex, cooking, and cleaning. While many of these relationships are purportedly consensual, these women are at risk of trafficking, and migrants in Tamanrasset reported instances of women prevented from leaving the home and raped by their “partner.” Foreign women and children, primarily sub-Saharan African migrants, are exploited in sex trafficking in bars and informal brothels, typically by members of their own communities, in Tamanrasset and Algiers.
Nigerien female migrants begging in Algeria, who often carry children—sometimes rented from their mothers in Niger—may be forced labor victims. Nigerien children, ranging from 4 to 8 years old, are brought to Algeria by trafficking networks with the consent of their parents and forced to beg for several months in Algeria before being returned to their families in Niger. Media and civil society organizations reported in 2015 that some sub-Saharan African migrant women working in domestic service for Algerian families experience physical abuse, confiscation of passports, and withheld pay. In 2014, the media and an international NGO reported Vietnamese migrants were forced to work on construction sites for Chinese contractors in Algeria. In 2015, civil society organizations reported isolated instances of foreign and Algerian children in sex trafficking and in forced labor on construction sites.