Guinea
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    Profile

    Guinea

    Capital

    Conakry

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 12,296.67 million

    Income group

    Low income

    Population

    12,771,246

    Area

    245,860 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    5.20

    Criminality score

    78th of 193 countries

    27th of 54 countries in Africa

    11th of 15 countries in West Africa

    Criminal market

    5.15

    Human trafficking

    7.00

    Human smuggling

    3.00

    Arms trafficking

    6.00

    Flora crimes

    4.50

    Fauna crimes

    6.00

    Non-renewable resource crimes

    6.50

    Heroin trade

    2.50

    Cocaine trade

    7.00

    Cannabis trade

    4.50

    Synthetic drug trade

    4.50

    Criminal actors

    5.25

    Mafia-style groups

    1.00

    Criminal networks

    5.00

    State-embedded actors

    8.00

    Foreign actors

    7.00

    2.83

    Resilience score

    171st of 193 countries

    42nd of 54 countries in Africa

    13th of 15 countries in West Africa

    Political leadership and governance

    2.00

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.00

    International cooperation

    4.00

    National policies and laws

    3.50

    Judicial system and detention

    3.00

    Law enforcement

    3.50

    Territorial integrity

    3.00

    Anti-money laundering

    3.00

    Economic regulatory capacity

    3.00

    Victim and witness support

    1.50

    Prevention

    1.50

    Non-state actors

    3.00

    2.83 5.25 5.15 2.83 5.25 5.15

    2.83

    Resilience score

    171st of 193 countries

    42nd of 54 countries in Africa

    13th of 15 countries in West Africa

    Political leadership and governance

    2.00

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.00

    International cooperation

    4.00

    National policies and laws

    3.50

    Judicial system and detention

    3.00

    Law enforcement

    3.50

    Territorial integrity

    3.00

    Anti-money laundering

    3.00

    Economic regulatory capacity

    3.00

    Victim and witness support

    1.50

    Prevention

    1.50

    Non-state actors

    3.00

    Analysis

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    People

    Women, men and children are subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation in Guinea, with the country serving as a point of origin, a transit and a destination market. Women and children remain at the highest risk of exploitation, and parents reportedly voluntarily send their daughters to intermediaries who then subject them to domestic work and sexual exploitation. The most popular end destinations for the Guinean victims of trafficking include the Middle East, Europe, the US as well as other countries in the West African region. Boys are also vulnerable to trafficking, mostly forced to beg, shine shoes, sell on the streets or work in diamond and gold mines, as well as in fishing, herding and plantations. Traffickers often take children from their parents by misleading guardians that their children will receive proper education, and then subject them to forced labour or begging in neighbouring states, such as Côte d’Ivoire. Notably, the prevalence of the human trafficking market in Guinea is expected to spread further due to the economic restraints created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A number of factors, including the porous borders, underdeveloped infrastructure, widespread poverty and the subsequent social issues, have become a prerequisite for Guinea to become a country of origin as well as a transit hub for human smuggling. However, the smuggling market is relatively undeveloped domestically. Research shows that smugglers from North African countries recruit unemployed youth from the region to serve as migrant recruiters in their local communities. Intermediaries often provide false documents to allow migrants to cross borders, since the country lacks a fully operational and digitalized civil registry service. There have also been cases of false warrants for arrest used by smuggled persons in Europe to motivate their request for asylum on grounds of persecution or discrimination.

    Trade

    Given its political conflicts, instability, adverse socio-economic conditions and poor governance, arms trafficking within and into Guinea is a challenge. The entire region is characterized by a lack of transparency and control of weapons, which leads to arms ending up in the possession of criminal groups. The proliferation of arms within the country is boosted by local artisanal production of arms. Manufacturing is mostly driven by local demand and Guinean hunters are the primary clients. One of the main sources of small arms and light weapons in Guinea is the recent conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    Environment

    Given the significant rosewood trafficking in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau and the fact that forests in Guinea and Guinea-Bissau are part of the same ecosystem, it is possible that traffickers operating in Guinea-Bissau are functioning in Guinea as well. Illegal logging, however, is underreported in Guinea. In contrast, several types of illegal wildlife activities are occurring in Guinea. Historically, Guinea had an extensive illegal trade of CITES-regulated animal products/species, including birds, parrots, seahorses and great apes, until sanctions were imposed in 2013. Guinea is both a country of origin and a destination market for illicit gold trafficking. The market provides livelihood to many actors and local elites are reportedly involved. Guinea's challenges in the gold and diamond sector relate to porous borders, the lack of formalization of artisanal mining and corruption. Guinea is a participant in the Kimberley Process, although it is reported that only a small fraction of the diamonds mined in the country goes through the process.

    Drugs

    Guinea sits along a major cocaine trafficking route from Latin America to Europe. Traffickers displaced from Guinea-Bissau after a 2013 sting operation were reported to have moved their operations to Guinea, benefitting from high-level protections of the state. As cocaine flows through this region have been increasing in the past two years, there is considerable reason to suggest that Guinea still plays a strategic role in the transhipment of cocaine. Meanwhile, Guinea is a transit country for cannabis, and there is reportedly cross-border trade with Guinea-Bissau. The scale of trafficking however is not very significant and there has been no record of major seizures recently. There is moderate trafficking of synthetic drugs in Guinea, though there is some evidence of production laboratories in the country, including several linked to the highest levels of government. Like other countries in West Africa, there is also considerable prescription drug abuse, including synthetic opioids such as tramadol. Guinea is a relatively minor transit country of heroin.

    Criminal Actors

    African nationals are present in criminal organizations involved in human trafficking across Guinea. Latin American drug trafficking organizations have also developed close ties with politically connected facilitators in Guinea, allowing the country to assume a key role in the West African drug trade, though they are rarely visibly present in the country. Importantly, Asian criminal groups are present in the mining sector in Guinea. As mentioned, drug trafficking in the country has been known to penetrate various state institutions in a complex and profitable alliance. This has included direct involvement of public officials, especially elected officials, and people from the opposition in drug trafficking and the illicit mining market.

    There have been reports of vast human trafficking networks between Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone. These networks use the Conakry airport to transport victims for exploitative purposes to the Middle East. Such loose networks are often comprised of members of various nationalities. Meanwhile, there is limited evidence to support the existence of mafia-style groups in Guinea.

    Leadership and governance

    There is no evidence to suggest that government officials in Guinea have placed organized crime high on their agenda. The current administration, however, has taken action to move the country towards authoritarianism, evident in the replacement of the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the removal of the head of the Constitutional Court, as well as in shutting down media outlets and the arrests of opposition leaders. At the same time, persistent corruption and fiscal mismanagement remain significant issues in the country. Officials who use their status to gain a financial benefit are able to do so with impunity. Overall, the country is highly fragile and vulnerable to political conflict.

    On the international level, Guinea is party to a number of relevant international treaties pertaining to organized crime. Guinea is also part of a regional initiative aimed at countering drug trafficking and transnational organized crime in the region. On the domestic level, Guinea does not have an abundance of laws pertaining to organized crime. However, its current penal code includes the criminalization of human trafficking and debt bondage. Nevertheless, the minimum penalties for these crimes have been reduced and enforcement has been weak. Legislation on drugs, however, has remained unchanged, possibly because of the influence drug traffickers hold over state institutions in the country.

    Criminal justice and security

    There are no specialized units in the judiciary established with the specific aim of countering organized crime in Guinea. While the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, decisions are reportedly often influenced by political pressure or bribes. Besides corruption, the judicial system also suffers lack of transparency and understaffing. At the same time, Guinea has a significantly high number of people in pre-trial/remand imprisonment, which demonstrates a deficiency in the legislative apparatus in processing court cases. Furthermore, detention centres and prisons in the country do not meet international standards. Similarly, law enforcement agencies are considered weak and corrupt. Police and gendarmes tend to ignore legal procedures and allegedly engage in the extortion of citizens. Corruption also creates a major constraint for effective border policing, which negatively impacts the country's territorial integrity.

    Economic and financial environment

    Despite being open to global trade, Guinea's economic climate does not fare well because of heavy investment regime, lack of regulator capacity and corruption. Moreover, constrained access to finance, underdeveloped facilitation of trade and logistics as well as inflation and poor education of the workforce put other obstacles in front of economic development. Meanwhile, poor law enforcement coupled with the country's largely cash-based economy allow increased vulnerability to money laundering. Though provided for by law, the country's financial intelligence unit has yet to become operational. Nevertheless, there is a mechanism in place which sees suspicious transaction reports sent to and processed in Guinea's central bank.

    Civil society and social protection

    Guinean authorities do not put the necessary efforts to adequately identify and protect human trafficking victims. Furthermore, NGOs are heavily relied upon to provide victim support services, but because of unavailability of funding, one of the few NGOs remaining had to shut their last two shelters in 2019. Furthermore, there is no witness protection programme in place in Guinea. There have been prevention campaigns aimed at communities along the country's borders with Senegal and Sierra Leone, however, on-the-ground coordination is lacking as are trained professionals outside of the capital, which impedes progress. Additionally, civil-society in Guinea must seek the support of foreign donors on local leaders, which introduces the risk of political co-optation. Meanwhile, the whistle-blowing atmosphere in the country is hostile and journalists are frequently intimidated. While press offences were decriminalized in Guinea, which was a positive step on part of authorities towards press freedom, journalists are still vulnerable to arrests and detention.

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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.

    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.