The Organized Crime Index | ENACT
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Algeria
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    Profile

    Algeria

    Capital

    Algiers

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 163,044.00 million

    Income group

    Lower middle income

    Population

    44,177,969

    Area

    2,381,741 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    GINI Index

    27.6

    4.880.37

    Criminality score

    104th of 193 countries 15

    31st of 54 countries in Africa6

    3rd of 6 countries in North Africa1

    Criminal markets

    5.170.52

    An assessment of the value, prevalence and non-monetary impacts of a specific crime type.

    Human trafficking

    4.00-0.50

    Illicit activity involving coercion, deception, abduction or fraud for the purpose of exploitation, regardless of the victim’s consent.

    Human smuggling

    7.000.50

    Activities by an organized crime group involving the illegal entry, transit or residence of migrants for a financial or material benefit.

    Extortion & protection racketeering

    3.00 n/a

    Crimes linked to exerting control over a territory/market including as a mediator and/or requesting a benefit in exchange for protection.

    Arms trafficking

    4.50-0.50

    The sale, acquisition, movement, and diversion of arms, their parts and ammunition from legal to illegal commerce and/or across borders.

    Trade in counterfeit goods

    6.00 n/a

    The production, transport, storage and sale of goods that are fraudulently mislabeled or fraudulent imitations of registered brands.

    Illicit trade in excisable goods

    6.50 n/a

    The illicit transport, handling and sale of excise consumer goods despite a ban or outside a legal market. Excludes oil and counterfeits.

    Flora crimes

    2.000.00

    The illicit trade and possession of species covered by CITES convention, and other species protected under national law.

    Fauna crimes

    5.501.00

    The poaching, illicit trade in and possession of species covered by CITES and other species protected by national law. Includes IUU fishing.

    Non-renewable resource crimes

    7.000.50

    The illicit extraction, smuggling, mingling, bunkering or mining of natural resources and the illicit trade of such commodities.

    Heroin trade

    2.500.50

    The production, distribution and sale of heroin. Consumption of the drug is considered in determining the reach of the criminal market.

    Cocaine trade

    4.000.50

    The production, distribution and sale of cocaine and its derivatives. Consumption is considered in determining the reach of the market.

    Cannabis trade

    7.000.50

    The illicit cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis oil, resin, herb or leaves. Consumption is used to determine the market's reach.

    Synthetic drug trade

    6.501.00

    The production, distribution and sale of synthetic drugs. Consumption is considered in determining the reach of the market.

    Cyber-dependent crimes

    4.00 n/a

    Organized crimes that rely solely on using information communications technology with the aim of obtaining a monetary/material benefit.

    Financial crimes

    8.00 n/a

    Organized crime that results in a monetary loss via financial fraud, embezzlement, misuse of funds, tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance.

    Criminal actors

    4.600.23

    An assessment of the impact and influence of a specific criminal actor type on society.

    Mafia-style groups

    1.500.50

    Clearly defined organized crime groups that usually have a known name, defined leadership, territorial control and identifiable membership.

    Criminal networks

    5.000.00

    Loose networks of criminal associates engaging in criminal activities who fail to meet the defining characteristics of mafia-style groups.

    State-embedded actors

    7.500.50

    Criminal actors that are embedded in, and act from within, the state’s apparatus.

    Foreign actors

    5.000.50

    State and/or non-state criminal actors operating outside their home country. Includes foreign nationals and diaspora groups.

    Private sector actors

    4.00 n/a

    Profit-seeking individuals/entities who own/control a part of the legal economy free from the state, that collaborate with criminal actors.

    4.38-0.25

    Resilience score

    119th of 193 countries -15

    22nd of 54 countries in Africa-7

    3rd of 6 countries in North Africa-1

    Political leadership & governance

    4.500.00

    The State's role in responding to organized crime and its effectiveness. Strong political leadership/governance suggests higher resilience.

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.00-1.00

    The degree to which states have put oversight mechanisms in place to ensure against state collusion in illicit activities.

    International cooperation

    5.000.00

    A country's supranational structures and processes of interaction, policy making and concrete implementation to respond to organized crime.

    National policies and laws

    6.000.00

    A state's legal action and structures put in place to respond to organized crime.

    Judicial system and detention

    3.00-1.00

    Refers to a state’s judiciary’s power to effectively and independently enforce judgments on organized crime-related cases.

    Law enforcement

    6.000.00

    The state’s ability to investigate, gather intelligence, protect and enforce adherence to its rules and procedures against organized crime.

    Territorial integrity

    6.500.00

    The degree to which states are able to control their physical and cyber territory and infrastructure against organized criminal activities.

    Anti-money laundering

    5.000.50

    A state’s ability to implement measures to combat money laundering and other related threats to the integrity of its financial system.

    Economic regulatory capacity

    4.500.00

    The ability to control/manage the economy and regulate transactions (national and international) for trade to thrive within the rule of law.

    Victim and witness support

    3.000.00

    Assistance provided to victims of various forms of organized crime, including initiatives such as witness protection programs.

    Prevention

    3.50-0.50

    Refers to the existence of strategies, measures, resource allocation, programmes and processes that are aimed to inhibit organized crime.

    Non-state actors

    2.50-1.00

    The degree non-state actors are allowed to engage in OC responses and their roles in supporting State efforts/ as watchdogs to governments.

    4.38 4.60 5.17 4.38 4.60 5.17

    4.38-0.25

    Resilience score

    119th of 193 countries -15

    22nd of 54 countries in Africa-7

    3rd of 6 countries in North Africa-1

    Political leadership & governance

    4.500.00

    The State's role in responding to organized crime and its effectiveness. Strong political leadership/governance suggests higher resilience.

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.00-1.00

    The degree to which states have put oversight mechanisms in place to ensure against state collusion in illicit activities.

    International cooperation

    5.000.00

    A country's supranational structures and processes of interaction, policy making and concrete implementation to respond to organized crime.

    National policies and laws

    6.000.00

    A state's legal action and structures put in place to respond to organized crime.

    Judicial system and detention

    3.00-1.00

    Refers to a state’s judiciary’s power to effectively and independently enforce judgments on organized crime-related cases.

    Law enforcement

    6.000.00

    The state’s ability to investigate, gather intelligence, protect and enforce adherence to its rules and procedures against organized crime.

    Territorial integrity

    6.500.00

    The degree to which states are able to control their physical and cyber territory and infrastructure against organized criminal activities.

    Anti-money laundering

    5.000.50

    A state’s ability to implement measures to combat money laundering and other related threats to the integrity of its financial system.

    Economic regulatory capacity

    4.500.00

    The ability to control/manage the economy and regulate transactions (national and international) for trade to thrive within the rule of law.

    Victim and witness support

    3.000.00

    Assistance provided to victims of various forms of organized crime, including initiatives such as witness protection programs.

    Prevention

    3.50-0.50

    Refers to the existence of strategies, measures, resource allocation, programmes and processes that are aimed to inhibit organized crime.

    Non-state actors

    2.50-1.00

    The degree non-state actors are allowed to engage in OC responses and their roles in supporting State efforts/ as watchdogs to governments.

    Analysis

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    People

    Human trafficking is prevalent in Algeria, with West African criminal networks driving the crime market. These networks exploit children and women from the region for begging and sexual exploitation in the country. The trafficking market emerged in southern Algeria but has now spread to northern cities, with more than half of the victims coming from the region of Zinder in Niger. Moreover, irregular migrants travelling through Algeria are also vulnerable to human trafficking and extortion by smugglers. Reports indicate that instances of exploitative and bonded labour are common, particularly for smuggled individuals from sub-Saharan Africa.

    Algeria is a transit and destination country for human smuggling, which is a growing problem. A higher volume of migrants has been received by the country in recent years, some of whom have reached Algeria using smuggling routes. On the other hand, Spain has registered an increase in irregular entries of Algerians, who are the largest nationality recorded. Human smuggling networks operate along Algeria's southern borders, which serve as a vital transit site for people traveling to Morocco and Libya. Though Algerian authorities have dismantled several smuggling networks, their efforts have largely failed to reduce the size and reach of the market. Smuggling networks are now increasingly involved in lodging and subsidiary services, in addition to transportation. Extortion and protection racketeering is also prevalent in the country with smuggled individuals being vulnerable to such illicit activities carried out by smugglers who intercept them in border areas with Niger, Algeria, Chad, and Sudan and demand money in exchange for transportation.

    Trade

    Arms trafficking in Algeria is primarily linked to the southern region of the country. It is unclear whether the larger dynamics of arms trafficking within the country are still active, but the recent disruption caused by the war in Ukraine has raised concerns within the military and security services about Algeria's ability to maintain its weapons stockpile and acquire new arms. Most of the weapons imported into Algeria come from Russia. The criminal economy of arms trafficking is dominated by a small number of regional players who have transnational connections through family and tribal fraternities, and local intermediaries in Algeria.

    The counterfeit market is significant, with some areas known as ‘Taiwan’ specializing in the production of fake goods. Although the legal framework for intellectual property (IP) rights in Algeria has improved, enforcement of laws remains inadequate, particularly in cosmetics, clothing, shoes, toys, electrical appliances, pharmaceutical products and some consumer and food products. However, the Algerian authorities have boosted efforts to improve IP protection and enforcement, including disbanding informal trade markets that sell counterfeit merchandise and increasing coordination between customs authorities and law enforcement.

    Algeria is also a significant origin, transit, and destination country for the illicit trade of cigarettes. Illicit cigarettes from Mali, Guinea, Benin, and Togo are smuggled into convoys heading towards Libya, Algeria, and Sudan, with Algeria being the leading outflow country in the Maghreb area towards Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the trade of excise goods due to maritime closures. However, the market continues to be pervasive in Algeria.

    Environment

    The illegal trafficking of flora in Algeria has been consistent over the past two years. Locals continue to illegally log cedar and fir trees in the Atlas Mountains, destroying many old-growth forests and endangering species such as the Tassili cypress, Numidian fir, and black pine. The pandemic has worsened the problem, leading to higher rates of illegal logging and endangering the Algerian oak species.

    Several fauna species in Algeria are in danger of extinction as well as a result of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The illegal hunting of the endangered gazelle and bearded mouflon is particularly concerning and is often underreported. Smuggling of birds, including the coveted goldfinch, is a growing trend in Algeria, where the bird has all but disappeared due to hunting. Other endangered species traded in the country or transiting through it, include the Genette, Saharan Barbary sheep, Atlas leopard, hyenas, jackals, fennec, cheetahs, spur-thighed tortoises, grey parrots, and chameleons. Actors from various Gulf countries play an important role in the fauna crimes market in Algeria, participating in poaching and the purchase of animal trophies.

    Fuel smuggling is significant issue, resulting in close to a billion dollars in losses a year. Most of the fuel is diverted to neighbouring countries on account of large price differentials, and smuggling networks are primarily based in borderlands or nearby cities. While the government has stepped up efforts to combat illegal small-scale gold mining, gold trafficking has become prevalent in the far south of Algeria in recent years. Foreign groups dominate illicit gold mining in the region, with few locals involved. This market causes serious environmental damage as a result of the use of chemical agents such as mercury and lead. In a recent development, airline employees have become involved in smuggling gold bars abroad.

    Drugs

    Algeria's heroin market is small owing to the lack of cultural appeal for its consumption and being situated away from heroin trafficking routes. Although heroin seizures have increased indicating an uptick in trafficking, little production has been found in Algeria. Poppy plantations have been uncovered in the southwest, but opioids have a small, localized market.

    Algeria is emerging as a new and significant hub for cocaine trafficking, linking Latin American cartels with drug markets in Europe. Large quantities of cocaine transit Algerian waters and port facilities, with corrupt security officials, local business, political elites, and overseas criminal organizations facilitating the trade through the country. Recent cocaine seizures and its availability in popular areas in Algiers suggest the emergence of a still small local consumption market as well. The cocaine trade is shifting from the West African drug route to the northwest African route, stretching from southern and northern Morocco to eastern Algeria.

    Cannabis trafficking is the most prevalent criminal market in Algeria, with long-standing regional connections to Moroccan counterparts. While cannabis cultivation is low and destined for domestic consumption, cannabis resin is produced and used in large quantities, with Algeria becoming a source country for this product to France and Europe. However, most of the cannabis circulating in the country comes from Morocco, with Algeria being a major destination and transit market. Hashish smuggling is increasingly moving at the edge of Algeria's southern borders. There has also been a rise in the use of kif in Algeria, even though the authorities have cracked down on several networks.

    The synthetic drug market has been growing at a fast pace in the past two years, with seizures increasing. Tramadol and codeine smuggling dominate the market, and pregabalin smuggling is a growing business. Synthetic drugs are easily accessible because of their cheap price, but violence is rarely associated with the market. Container shipments in major northern ports in Algiers, Oran, and Annaba are one way the commodity penetrates Algeria, with a surprisingly large quantity also smuggled in overland, either from Tunisia or Sahelian countries. The consumption of synthetic drugs is becoming more common than cannabis among young people.

    Cyber Crimes

    Algeria is considered to be at high risk of cybercrimes, with many cases of mobile devices being infected with malware. The police have reported close to a quarter increase in cybercrime cases from 2019 to 2021. Algeria is particularly vulnerable to spyware attacks and has been targeted by foreign malware. The lack of specific legislation focused on cybersecurity and a general lack of awareness among the population, and authorities contribute to this situation.

    Financial Crimes

    Embezzlement, misuse of funds, and other financial crimes are prevalent in Algeria, with many cases involving corruption among powerful individuals and businesspeople, rather than organized crime groups. These crimes often involve interconnected networks of patrons and clients. The country's large informal, cash-based economy, estimated at almost half of the GDP, is vulnerable to abuse by criminals. Additionally, tax evasion and fiscal fraud in the informal sector cost the country hundreds of billions a year.

    Criminal Actors

    There is currently no evidence of mafia-style criminal groups operating in Algeria. However, criminal networks remain highly active and economically dominant in the country, with transnational linkages and involvement in illegal activities such as human and drug trafficking, smuggling of basic and excise products, and arms trafficking. These networks are concentrated in metropolises of Algeria and are associated with varying levels of violence, from low to medium-high. Although there are no state-embedded criminal organizations tied to the Algerian government, corruption remains pervasive, with the presence of high-level criminal actors. Insufficient checks and balances contribute to corruption. It is difficult to assess the presence of foreign criminal actors in Algeria because of strong regional bonds and communal and family ties. While historically, foreign actors played more of an intermediary role in domestic criminal markets, there is more evidence of their presence, particularly in the south, involved in illegal gold extraction, arms trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, and food and oil trafficking. Private-sector actors have been involved in corruption schemes during ex-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's government, but there is no evidence of private businesses facilitating or collaborating with organized crime groups.

    Leadership and governance

    Algeria is known for its strong law enforcement and military leadership in the fight against transnational organized crime. The country is considered the main security power in the region, with a reputation as a stabilizing force. The security apparatus links the fight against organized crime with terrorism, resulting in a tough on-the-ground approach against criminal networks. The government has prioritized the fight against corruption, and several political leaders from the previous government have been tried and convicted. Nevertheless, these measures seem are not sufficient and no real reforms on transparency have taken place.

    Algeria has signed major international treaties and conventions related to organized crime and has established standards and systems for international cooperation. The country is leading the implementation of Afripol, the AU police cooperation mechanism headquartered in Algiers. However, information-sharing related to high-level tax evasion cases or common judicial trials is limited. Algeria has upped its diplomatic activity since 2020, particularly towards neighbouring countries, aimed at assuring more stability in the region and tackling transnational organized crime. Strong anti-organized crime laws are in place, with severe penalties for crimes such as drugs, human trafficking, arms smuggling, and other offences.

    Criminal justice and security

    Algeria has a robust law enforcement capacity to combat organized crime on the ground, with well-trained and well-equipped personnel. However, the tough-on-crime policy can lead to operational excesses, and cooperation between forces can be problematic. While the country has deployed impressive law enforcement measures along its vast borders, many breaches exist, and it is unlikely that the army can achieve complete control over such a vast territory in a fragile environment. There are micro-zones where the state is weak, and although it can project authority at times, it struggles to assert it continuously. These zones are known to harbour terrorist groups. Territorial integrity remains the highest priority for the security apparatus given that Algeria has the largest territory among African countries, with three large borders with conflict-torn countries (Mali, Libya, and Morocco). Algeria has yet to implement a comprehensive strategy to prevent cyber infiltrations and is vulnerable to spyware attacks.

    Economic and financial environment

    The extent of money laundering through Algeria's formal financial system is minimal due to stringent regulations and a banking sector dominated by state-owned banks. The numerous checks on money transfers make the system highly bureaucratic, which discourages illicit transactions. However, vulnerabilities outside the formal financial system continue to be an issue, particularly in the real estate sector, where transactions are mainly conducted in cash with no requirement to prove their origin. The country's tax authority and financial intelligence processing unit have made little progress in tackling money laundering, and there is a lack of political will to do so.

    Algeria's economic crisis continues to worsen, with the prices of essential goods increasing, and the Algerian Dinar losing half of its purchasing power over the last decade. While the government increased the basic minimum wage in 2020, the prices of goods are surpassing income increases, likely leading to the necessity of seeking external debt. And as a result of the budget deficit, the government lifted food subsidies as they became unaffordable. Due to fiscal limitations, the government has yet to implement a plan to tighten its budget, which can further destabilize the national market. Among the measures to raise more revenue, an additional excise tax of 5% for all tobacco products was applied.

    Civil society and social protection

    Algeria's capacity to support victims and witnesses is inadequate, and although there have been some advances, drug users still face challenges in accessing effective treatment and support. Efforts to combat human trafficking have improved compared to previous years, including increased investigations and prosecutions. However, victim identification systems remain insufficient and victim protection services are inadequate. The government claims to have provided an unspecified number of victims with medical, legal, and psychological aid, but it has failed to supply tailored shelter or protection services.

    Prevention activities in Algeria fall below global standards. Organized crime prevention efforts focus on drug consumption and human trafficking, and a new national anti-trafficking action plan is being drafted. However, many activities related to the previous national anti-trafficking action plan were postponed following COVID-19 restrictions and prolonged political paralysis.

    Civil society in Algeria faces numerous challenges. For instance, NGOs deal with considerable bureaucratic obstacles when trying to establish and operate in the country, leaving them in a legally precarious position. Political restrictions make it difficult for them to conduct field activities or public conferences. Despite the challenges, civil society in Algeria remains dynamic and vocal.

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    The criminal markets score is represented by the pyramid base size and the criminal actors score is represented by the pyramid height, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. The resilience score is represented by the panel height, which can be identified by the side of the panel.

    How to measure organized crime?

    A series of 13 discussion papers, one for each illicit market considered during the development of the Index.

    Read more on globalinitiative.net
    How to measure organized crime?

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    This report was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State.

    ENACT is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in affiliation with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

    The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.