The Organized Crime Index | ENACT
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Guinea
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    Profile

    Guinea

    Capital

    Conakry

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 16,091.82 million

    Income group

    Low income

    Population

    13,531,906

    Area

    245,860 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    GINI Index

    29.6

    4.58-0.62

    Criminality score

    122nd of 193 countries -44

    38th of 54 countries in Africa-11

    13th of 15 countries in West Africa-2

    Criminal markets

    4.77-0.38

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

    Human trafficking

    7.000.00

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

    Human smuggling

    4.001.00

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

    Extortion & protection racketeering

    1.00 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

    5.50-0.50

    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

    5.00 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

    4.50 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

    5.000.50

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

    Fauna crimes

    6.500.50

    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

    2.500.00

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

    Cocaine trade

    7.000.00

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

    Cannabis trade

    4.500.00

    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

    4.500.00

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

    Cyber-dependent crimes

    2.00 n/a

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

    Financial crimes

    5.50 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

    4.40-0.85

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

    Mafia-style groups

    1.000.00

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

    Criminal networks

    6.001.00

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

    State-embedded actors

    7.50-0.50

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

    Foreign actors

    6.50-0.50

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

    Private sector actors

    1.00 n/a

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

    3.130.29

    Resilience score

    166th of 193 countries 5

    39th of 54 countries in Africa3

    13th of 15 countries in West Africa0

    Political leadership & governance

    2.500.50

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

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.500.50

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

    International cooperation

    3.50-0.50

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

    National policies and laws

    4.000.50

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

    Judicial system and detention

    3.500.50

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

    Law enforcement

    3.500.00

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

    Territorial integrity

    3.500.50

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

    Anti-money laundering

    3.000.00

    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

    3.000.00

    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

    2.000.50

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

    Prevention

    2.000.50

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

    Non-state actors

    3.500.50

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

    3.13 4.40 4.77 3.13 4.40 4.77

    3.130.29

    Resilience score

    166th of 193 countries 5

    39th of 54 countries in Africa3

    13th of 15 countries in West Africa0

    Political leadership & governance

    2.500.50

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

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.500.50

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

    International cooperation

    3.50-0.50

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

    National policies and laws

    4.000.50

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

    Judicial system and detention

    3.500.50

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

    Law enforcement

    3.500.00

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

    Territorial integrity

    3.500.50

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

    Anti-money laundering

    3.000.00

    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

    3.000.00

    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

    2.000.50

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

    Prevention

    2.000.50

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

    Non-state actors

    3.500.50

    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

    Guinea acts as a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking, particularly for women and children who are vulnerable to forced labour and sex trafficking. Girls are often sent by their parents to intermediaries who subject them to domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including motels and restaurants in Conakry. Forced labour is prevalent in Guinea’s mining and agriculture sectors, where boys are exploited in industries such as begging, street vending, mining, and plantation work. Traffickers sometimes deceive parents by promising education for their children but instead force them into begging in Quranic schools across Senegal, Mauritania, and Guinea-Bissau. Guinean women and girls also fall victim to domestic servitude and sex trafficking in West Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the US. The socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have aggravated the problem, making individuals more susceptible to exploitation.

    Guinea’s geographic location, porous borders, underdeveloped infrastructure, and recurrent sociopolitical crises contribute to its role as a source and transit country for irregular migration. While being part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) zone allows freedom of movement across immediate borders, smugglers from North African countries recruit unemployed youth from Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana to act as recruiters in their local communities. Given the lack of a fully operational digital civil registry service in Guinea false documents are often provided for border crossings. Additionally, some people arriving in Europe use false arrest warrants to support asylum claims based on persecution or discrimination. There are no reports indicating the presence of extortion and racketeering in the country, except for sporadic and historical incidents.

    Trade

    The trafficking of arms and illicit trade in small arms and weapons in Guinea are driven by factors such as insecurity, corruption, and the potential for conflict. The widespread availability of arms is fuelled by illegal trade and local production, with artisanal production catering to the demand from hunters at various levels. Arms traffickers exploit Guinea’s coastline to smuggle weapons to bordering countries, while conflict in neighbouring nations contributes to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons within Guinea. The most common types of arms in civilian possession include craft-produced firearms, hunting firearms, and automatic weapons. Initiatives by regional and international organizations have been attempting to address the proliferation of illicit arms in Guinea, but the phenomenon remains problematic.

    In terms of counterfeit goods, Guinea is an import and redistribution hub for falsified medical products, which are illegally transported to neighbouring countries. Most of these medicines originate from China and India and enter the country by sea. The country has witnessed thousands of deaths suspected to be caused by falsified and substandard medicines, prompting authorities to revoke authorization for the import and distribution of pharmaceutical products from most companies. Additionally, certain fabrics sold in Guinea, such as Lépi, Kendeli, Forêt sacrée, and Bakha are counterfeit products from Asia, often sold at much lower prices. Regarding the illicit trade of excise goods, the capital city's port in Conakry serves as a major hub. Illicit cigarettes from Guinea's port are loaded into convoys with armed guards and transported as far east as Sudan and across the Sahel region.

    Environment

    Known as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, Guinea has been grappling with marked tree cover loss and deforestation. Over the past two decades, the country has lost close to a quarter of its tree cover, raising concerns about unreported illegal activities, such as illegal logging. The rise in deforestation and the presence of rosewood trafficking in Guinea-Bissau indicate the possibility of traffickers targeting Guinea's rosewood, potentially connected to the same networks operating there. Various factors contribute to this threat, including poverty, climate change, human migration, urbanization, political instability, unprotected borders, outdated policies, and a dearth of regional conservation planning and awareness regarding the value of forests. In 2022, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) suspended trade in West African rosewood from the 16 countries where it grows, including Guinea, to protect the endangered species. However, there are concerns that the legal export of an old stockpile of rosewood could be exploited by traffickers to smuggle freshly logged rosewood mixed with the stockpile.

    The biodiversity in Guinea faces severe threats from wildlife trafficking and extensive deforestation. Violations include the fraudulent issuance of CITES permits and the illegal export of endangered species such as chimpanzees and manatees. Local markets are inundated with bushmeat, including monkey, pangolin, and turtle. Guinea is also a potential trafficking route for tropical birds between Latin America and West Africa. In the past, Guinea had a significant trade in CITES-listed species such as reptile leather, live birds, reptiles, monkeys, and seahorses, until sanctions were imposed following concerns over invalid permits facilitating illegal trade. The Ziama-Wonegizi-Wologizi landscape, a Transboundary Forest Landscape shared by Liberia and Guinea, is an important habitat for critically endangered Western chimpanzees and vulnerable African elephants. Poaching and human-wildlife conflict lead to habitat degradation for these endangered species.

    As the world's second-largest producer of bauxite, Guinea holds vast reserves of nonrenewable resources. However, mining companies have often disregarded contracts and engaged in illicit practices for personal gain. Guinea's gold and diamond market, though smaller compared to neighbouring countries, acts as a source and destination for illicit gold trafficking involving local elites and artisanal miners who work in hazardous conditions. Issues in the sector include porous borders, lack of formalization, and corruption. Additionally, the industrial iron ore sector has faced significant challenges, including major resource heists. Recent incidents include the illegal exploration of gold deposits within a national park.

    Drugs

    Guinea has played a minor role as a transit country for heroin trafficking to Europe and North America. However, Guinea's geography, weak law enforcement, corruption, and connections between top military personnel and drug traffickers, who receive protection from high-ranking government officials, create a safe haven for drug traffickers and cartels. Situated along a major trafficking route from Latin America to Europe, Guinea is a major cocaine trafficking hub in West Africa. The majority of cocaine enters Guinea by sea, both through its port and porous coastline, although a smaller volume is trafficked via air routes. For both modalities, the majority of cocaine reaching Guinea is exported from Brazil. Guinea is also used to move cannabis, often involving cross-border trade with Guinea-Bissau or transportation by sea from Sierra Leone. Marijuana is mostly consumed among the young population.

    The synthetic drug trade is pervasive, with reported presence of local production laboratories, although such reports remain unverified. Prescription drug abuse, particularly of synthetic opioids such as Tramadol, is a big issue in Guinea and other West African countries. It is reported that the trafficking of Tramadol contributes to financing conflicts in the region. In 2022, a new drug called kush, suspected to be a synthetic cannabinoid, was introduced to Guinea from Sierra Leone, resulting in several deaths among young people attributed to its consumption.

    Cyber Crimes

    Cyber-dependent crimes in the form of hacking, ransomware, or cryptocurrency fraud are very limited to anecdotal reports of such crimes reported in the past.

    Financial Crimes

    High-level politicians across the political spectrum and officials from various branches of the state have been implicated in financial crimes. Cases involving fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, and corruption reflect a widespread issue in Guinea. In August 2022, Guinea announced the prosecution of a former prime minister for the alleged embezzlement of public funds, which were intended for economic, political, and social programmes, including COVID-19 aid.

    Criminal Actors

    In Guinea, drug trafficking has infiltrated state institutions, forging a lucrative alliance between local businesspeople, politicians, police, and military officers. There are suspicions that delays in changing domestic counter-narcotics policies may be attributable to the influence of drug traffickers within state institutions. Corruption and complicity among government agents in supporting the illicit drug trade poses a significant obstacle to international and local counter-narcotics efforts. While there have been reports of the direct involvement of public officials, particularly elected officials, in drug trafficking and the illicit mining trade, the broader issue lies in the widespread protection provided to individuals involved in these trades because of corruption.

    There is limited evidence of the presence of mafia-style groups in Guinea. However, the country does have numerous active criminal networks operating within neighbouring countries and even beyond the continent. These networks have established connections with state authorities and the country's elite. Human trafficking networks have been identified between Guinea, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, fraudulently recruiting women for labour abroad. The porous borders contribute to the freedom and resilience of these criminal networks, presenting new opportunities amid the pandemic. Foreign actors are also involved in various criminal activities in Guinea. Latin American drug trafficking organizations have established connections with politically influential individuals, making the country a key player in the West African drug trade. Chinese nationals participate in illegal mining and timber trafficking, while North Koreans are suspected of forced labour in the mining, construction, fishing, and health sectors. Cuban medical professionals working in Guinea may also be subjected to forced labour by the Cuban government. Hezbollah has an extensive business network in Guinea that relies on bribery to evade legal restrictions. There are no reports to suggest the involvement of private-sector actors in criminal markets in Guinea.

    Leadership and governance

    Following a military coup in September 2021, Guinea underwent a change in its political leadership. The new junta-led government, which justified the takeover as a means to liberate the country from a corrupt regime, has taken steps to combat corruption and embezzlement. This has resulted in the arrest of former government officials and a crackdown on the mining industry. The crackdown has, however, been highly politicized. The international community condemned the coup, which was a setback for democracy in Africa. Sanctions have been imposed on the military rulers, and initiatives are underway to restore stability through the drafting of a new constitution, implementing anti-corruption measures, and reforming the electoral system. Nevertheless, the current political volatility and the country's economic struggles, exacerbated by the pandemic, create a conducive environment for criminal activities to thrive. Guinea faces many obstacles concerning government transparency and accountability. Corruption and fiscal mismanagement are pervasive issues. In the past, officials involved in illicit activities often faced minimal consequences, leading to a sense of impunity. Exploiting poverty and corruption, drug traffickers have established lucrative criminal networks that involve government officials, military personnel, law enforcement officers, and political and traditional leaders. The ECOWAS has expressed dissatisfaction with the junta-led authorities' failure to meet the six-month deadline for organizing a fair and free election.

    Since the coup, Guinea has experienced some setbacks in terms of international cooperation, particularly with the US, and ECOWAS. However, the country maintains close relationships with China, Turkey, France and North Korea. While Guinea has ratified eight out of 10 relevant international treaties on organized crime, it has yet to ratify two crucial protocols of the Palermo Convention that pertain to the smuggling of people and illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms. The legislative framework in Guinea has insufficient laws pertaining to organized crime, which are not aligned with international standards. Guinea has not yet developed a national policy or strategy on migration. Drug-related offences are addressed under the penal code, which treats them as criminal acts with severe penalties. However, Guinea has shown resistance to changing its domestic counter-narcotics policies, possibly because of the influence of drug traffickers within state institutions.

    Criminal justice and security

    The judicial system in Guinea has a shortage of specialized units dedicated to countering organized crime. While the judiciary is theoretically independent, concerns persist about the influence of money and political pressures on judicial decisions. The system is plagued by corruption, lack of transparency, and understaffing, with a shortage of qualified lawyers and magistrates. Defendants' rights to an attorney are often ignored, and indigent defendants are not provided with state-funded legal representation. In December 2021, the Court of Repression of Economic and Financial Offences (CRIEF), a criminal justice court that is tasked with examining and prosecuting economic and financial crimes, such as embezzlement and misuse of public funds, was created in Guinea. However, more work is needed to enhance the anti-corruption system. Politically connected individuals frequently evade prosecution, while budget constraints, nepotism, and ethnic bias further hinder the effectiveness of the judiciary. Reports of extrajudicial killings, torture, and inhumane treatment in detention centres are alarming. Civilian prisons are characterized by abusive conditions, including poor sanitation, malnutrition, inadequate medical attention, and overcrowding.

    Corruption and official complicity also present substantial obstacles to law enforcement in Guinea, hampering attempts to combat various crimes. Widespread corruption within law enforcement agencies undermines their effectiveness and fosters protection rackets. Security forces, including the police and gendarmes, engage in misconduct such as disregarding legal procedures and extorting money from citizens at roadblocks, prisons, and detention centres. Moreover, legal protections such as the inviolability of the home and the requirement for judicial search warrants are frequently disregarded by police and paramilitary personnel. The arbitrary arrest and detention of opposition members and even family members of suspects are common practice. Detainees are frequently held without charges for extended periods.

    Guinea, with its long land borders and limited coastline, maintains peaceful relations with its six neighbouring nations. However, corruption remains a hurdle for effective border policing. While the country upholds constitutional provisions for freedom of movement, police and security forces often engage in extortion from travellers, impeding their mobility and compromising their safety. The region continues to witness disjointed coordination between interagency border control units and between states, as well as the vulnerability of border communities. In an attempt to improve territorial integrity, international agencies have been promoting a joint program to strengthen border management, social cohesion, and cross-border security in the Parrot’s Beak area, in the south of the country, where the territories of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia meet and the irregular movement of people and goods has considerably increased in recent years.

    Economic and financial environment

    Poor record-keeping, weak law enforcement, corruption, and the informal, cash-based economy in Guinea create an environment conducive to money laundering and its associated crimes. In recent years, the Guinean Parliament passed a new law to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT). This law addresses several gaps identified in previous legislation and implements recommendations from international organizations. However, the country's Financial Intelligence Unit, as provided for by law, is not yet operational, limiting AML/CFT efforts. Nonetheless, within the banking sector, suspicious transaction reports are sent to the Central Bank, which has established an ad-hoc unit for this purpose. Most of the offences committed in the country involve the transfer of funds without a valid economic justification, and such transfers are typically returned to the originating institutions.

    The economic regulatory environment in Guinea faces challenges as a result of widespread corruption and impunity within public institutions, which hinders the protection of private property. Despite a high level of openness to global trade, progress in improving the investment regime and regulatory efficiency has been subpar. Corruption has deeply permeated the country's business and political culture, leading to a reliance on bribery in business transactions. Limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure, logistics deficiencies, and low government capacity further undermine investor confidence. Guinea's economy heavily relies on cash transactions outside the banking sector, exacerbating these problems. The 2021 political and health crises had a significant impact on socio-economic progress in Guinea. Half of Guinean children live in impoverished households, facing difficulties in accessing quality education and job opportunities, which puts them at risk of various hardships. The African Development Bank anticipates medium-term growth stimulated by the energy supply from the Souapiti dam, new mining projects, and increased infrastructure spending.

    Civil society and social protection

    For the first time in many years, the Guinean government has approved standard operating procedures for identifying human trafficking victims. Authorities in Guinea have also identified an increased number of forced labour victims, including children, who are exploited in domestic servitude and sex trafficking. Only one international organization capable of providing shelter to trafficking victims is responsible for hosting returning workers. The government does not have a formal policy to encourage victims to assist in investigations and prosecutions against their alleged traffickers. Reports indicate that due to inadequate convictions in the judicial system, victims and their parents are reluctant to file claims against traffickers. Additionally, challenges such as a shortage of personnel and coordination, social and political unrest, and the impact of the pandemic have hindered the government's anti-trafficking endeavours, including training and public awareness programmes. In terms of prevention efforts, the government has conducted sensitization campaigns targeting communities along Guinea's borders with Sierra Leone and Senegal, which are common routes for traffickers bringing children for forced begging in Senegal. Despite these attempts, Guinea's progress in combating trafficking has been hampered by limited resources, political and social unrest, and the impact of the pandemic.

    In Guinea, there is insufficient dialogue between the government, political stakeholders, and civil society actors, leading to a deterioration of the sociopolitical situation. Efforts are being made by organizations to strengthen civil society and media capacities, but inclusivity and engagement with all stakeholders continue to hinder the peaceful transition. Civil society groups in Guinea have faced challenges, seeking patronage from international donors or local actors, which puts them at risk of political co-optation. The whistleblowing atmosphere in the country is hostile, restricting the free expression of dissenting voices. While the Transition Charter, unveiled on 27 September 2021, guarantees freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, the transition authorities have routinely barred public protests and assemblies, similar to the previous government. The new military authorities have denied accreditation to certain political groups and restricted press freedom. Although media pluralism exists in Guinea, journalists have faced intimidation, occasional arrests, and violence during major political events. Crackdown on protests and censorship of critical media outlets remain prevalent, with journalists being beaten, threatened, and expelled from the country.

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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.