Year
Tunisia
x

    Tunisia

    Capital

    Tunis

    Population

    11,694,719

    Area

    163,610 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 38,796.69 million

    GDP per capita

    $3,317.00

    Income group

    Lower middle income

    3.790.53

    Criminality Score

    49th of 54 African countries

    6th of 6 North Africa countries

    Criminal market

    4.200.80

    Human Trafficking

    4.000.00

    Human Smuggling

    7.002.00

    Arms Trafficking

    5.001.50

    Flora Crimes

    3.502.50

    Fauna Crimes

    3.500.00

    Non-Renewable Resource Crimes

    5.001.00

    Heroin Trade

    2.000.00

    Cocaine Trade

    3.001.00

    Cannabis Trade

    5.000.00

    Synthetic Drug Trade

    4.000.00

    Criminal Actors

    3.380.25

    Mafia-Style Groups

    1.000.00

    Criminal Networks

    4.000.50

    State-Embedded Actors

    5.500.50

    Foreign Actors

    3.000.00

    4.83-0.46

    Resilience Score

    14th of 54 African countries

    1st of 6 North Africa countries

    Political Leadership and Governance

    4.50-2.50

    Government Transparency and Accountability

    5.00-1.50

    International Cooperation

    5.000.50

    National Policies and Laws

    6.500.00

    Judicial System and Detention

    4.500.00

    Law Enforcement

    4.500.00

    Territorial Integrity

    5.500.00

    Anti-Money Laundering

    5.500.50

    Economic Regulatory Capacity

    4.00-1.50

    Victim and Witness Support

    4.50-0.50

    Prevention

    3.001.00

    Non-State Actors

    5.50-1.50

    4.8333333333333 3.375 4.2 4.8333333333333 3.375 4.2

    4.83-0.46

    Resilience Score

    14th of 54 African countries

    1st of 6 North Africa countries

    Political Leadership and Governance

    4.50-2.50

    Government Transparency and Accountability

    5.00-1.50

    International Cooperation

    5.000.50

    National Policies and Laws

    6.500.00

    Judicial System and Detention

    4.500.00

    Law Enforcement

    4.500.00

    Territorial Integrity

    5.500.00

    Anti-Money Laundering

    5.500.50

    Economic Regulatory Capacity

    4.00-1.50

    Victim and Witness Support

    4.50-0.50

    Prevention

    3.001.00

    Non-State Actors

    5.50-1.50

    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09

    People

    The human trafficking market is not as sizeable in Tunisia as in other countries in North Africa but the prevalence of several forms of trafficking is an issue. Several cases of trafficking of Ivorian and Senegalese nationals as domestic workers have been reported. Such victims are allegedly brought to Tunisia through networks involving both nationals from countries of origin and Tunisian nationals. Cases of young women being trafficked to Gulf States for prostitution have also been reported. Domestic human trafficking does exist, involving predominantly young women and children from marginalized areas of the NorthWest, trafficked either for domestic work or to become street beggars in the main cities of Tunisia. ‘Samsaras’, or brokers, act as intermediaries between the families of eventual victims of human trafficking and the families in richer cities looking for domestic helpers.

    Human smuggling is a longstanding but recently growing phenomenon in Tunisia. The problem mainly encompasses Tunisian nationals who try to reach Italian shores, as well as foreign migrants who transit through Tunisia on their way to Europe. Migration to Italy increased during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, where reports highlighted that 4 000 Tunisians arrived irregularly in Italy in the month of July 2020 alone. Tunisia also acts as a transit country for sub-Saharan migrants who first come to Tunisia for work, then attempt to cross to Europe relying on Ivorian–Tunisian smuggling networks. Additionally, Libyan smugglers have established launching points for trans-Mediterranean smuggling from Tunisian beaches in the east.

    Trade

    The 2011 revolution in Tunisia opened an avenue for the free flow of small and light weapons, where significant quantities of arms were trafficked from Libya to Tunisia, with regular seizures of assault rifles, machine guns, rocket launchers and hand grenades carried out by the authorities in the southern and north-western regions of the country. The existence of terrorist cells in the country and the perpetration of several terrorist attacks since 2011 is intertwined with the illegal circulation of weapons. While the number of seizures and attacks has significantly decreased in most of the country since 2016, in 2020 the Tunisian authorities announced that they dismantled an arms-trafficking network operating in the south of the country.

    Environment

    The illicit market for flora crime in Tunisia is not particularly pervasive. However, the illegal logging of cedar and fir by locals is common and is destroying a significant number of old-growth forests throughout the ecoregion. Meanwhile, the criminal market for fauna crimes in Tunisia primarily concerns the poaching, hunting and trafficking of protected birds, in addition to illegal fishing, overfishing and coral trafficking. Birds and other animals – such as goldfinches and turtles – have also been illegally taken from their natural habitat to be sold on local or international markets. Additionally, the African bustard isfrequently the focus of illegal traditional hunts. Meanwhile, gazelle hunting and ‘emir poaching’, where Emirs from Arab countries spend months taking part in hunting activities seem to have decreased over time in Tunisia.

    The most prominent environmental criminal market, however, is that pertaining to non-renewable resource crime, in particular cross-border fuel smuggling. Due to price differentials stemming from oil subsidies in neighbouring countries, oil is systematicallysmuggled into Tunisia from Algeria, and to a lesser extent Libya, to be sold on the informal market.The illicit oil trade is a significant source of income for many communities, especially those living in border regions. In recent years, the economic marginalization of many of those living in border communities has increased substantially as the Tunisian economy has struggled, which, when combined with the complicity of government authorities, namely customs officials, is a key driver of the fuel smuggling market.

    Drugs

    Cannabis is the most consumed drug in Tunisia, and cannabis trafficking constitutes a significant market in the country. Cannabis resin is smuggled to Tunisia from Morocco, while transiting through Algeria. Tunisian networks spearhead the distribution of cannabis in the country, but Algerian and West African nationals are also involved in the importation of cannabis. Cross-border trafficking of cannabis between Tunisia, Libya and Algeria is a growing concern. Heroin with very low purity levels appears to mainly be consumed in the southern portion of Tunisia. Some cross-border trafficking occurs with neighbouring Libya and Algeria. However, Tunisian authorities have only seized small amounts of heroin and overall, the market is very limited.

    Meanwhile, the domestic cocaine market in Tunisia is limited but may be expanding. Cocaine in Tunisia appears to be derived from larger shipments, which move through the Maghreb and are evidenced by the multi-kilogram seizures made in recent years along Tunisia’s coast. The market caters to wealthy consumers in major coastal cities, and most of the seizures are occurring in passenger seaports and airports, inbound from Europe. Investigations have revealed the implication of Brazilian, Tunisian and Italian criminal networks.In recent years, Tunisia has experienced an increase in Ecstasy seizures. Ecstasy originates from Europe, where the drug is trafficked by networks of European and Tunisian nationals. Subutex, a semi-synthetic opioid, has also gained popularity in Tunisia. Often, the drug is smuggled into the country by Tunisian nationals. The country’s dynamic tourism industry provides both a cover and a potential market for such drugs.

    Criminal Actors

    The 2011 revolution in Tunisia exposed large-scale corruption schemes at the highest levels of the state apparatus. Following the revolution, corruption became increasingly more apparent at the lower levels of the state. Overall, corruption is widespread, with citizens regularly paying bribes to law enforcement including police officers, customs agents and National Guard officers. Bribes are also frequently paid to administrative officials to facilitate or expedite the access to services normally provided by public institutions. The Tunisian border regions with Algeria and Libya constitute hubs for various forms of trafficking. The populations living in border regions travel regularly across the borders and often depend on trafficking and contraband of goods for revenue. For this reason, networks that traffic goods and contraband are not always considered criminal inside these regions. Instead, their members are often referred to as ‘entrepreneurs’. Human trafficking networks are composed of speculative ‘samsaras’ or brokers who act as intermediaries between families of minor girls from the North West of Tunisia and families from rich cities looking for domestic helpers. Samsaras usually come from the same regions as the girls they employ and operate either on their own or with the help of facilitators who establish the connection with the employers.

    Moreover, since the 2011 revolution and Libya’s subsequent descent into conflict, some prominent foreign human smuggling groups have established themselves in Tunisia, offering alternative logistical and money laundering hubs for Libya-based operations.Currently, there is no evidence of mafia-style groups operating in Tunisia.

    Leadership and governance

    Political parties in Tunisia appear to put prevention and the fight against organized crime on their agenda on a case-by-case basis. The country still has no national crime prevention, anti-crime policy, or national crime prosecution policy. In recent years, the government launched a national campaign against corruption and contraband networks. This initiative has been criticized for using extra-judicial arrests and lacking efficiency. Overall, there is limited political will to address organized crime.

    On the international level, Tunisia has ratified most major international treaties pertaining to organized crime with the exception of the Arms Trade Treaty. Tunisia is an active member of the G7+7 and there is extensive cooperation in terms of intelligence sharing and police cooperation with the European Union. In comparison to certain neighbouring countries, such as Algeria and Morocco, Tunisia’s bilateral cooperation on organized crime issues is less extensive. On the domestic level, Tunisia has a very robust legal framework pertaining to organized crime, including strong legislation related to drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering and human trafficking legislation.

    Criminal justice and security

    In Tunisia, judges are considered to be independent from political elitessince the fall of the former regime in 2011. However, the judicial sector has a reputation of being overwhelmed by a heavy workload. Meanwhile, prisons in Tunisia are seen as a breeding ground for organized crime. In terms of law enforcement, the National Guard and the National Police force have had a tremendous increase in their capacities to tackle organized crime, thanks mostly to international assistance. However, competition between the two hinders the adequate management of investigations. Tunisia's borders with Algeria and Libya are porous, particularly inthe years following the 2011 revolution. Since 2012, the mountains of Chaambi have been declared a military zone, with regular conflicts taking place between terrorist factions and the Tunisian army. Tunisia does not have the capacity to fully enforce its borders in this area and to prevent movements of terrorists across borders.

    Economic and financial environment

    Tunisia's formal economic sector is still recovering from the revolution, following decades of state capture and kleptocracy. In 2019, a transversal law on the business climate was enacted. The law aims to improve the investment climate by implementing several reforms related to the process of establishing a business, public–private partnership and reducing bureaucracy for new businesses. However, the Tunisian economy was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and many communities across the country are economically marginalized. As such, the Tunisian economy still heavily relies on the informal sector, in particular in the border regions neighbouring Algeria and Libya.

    Overall, Tunisia has been assessed very positively for its anti-money laundering efforts. In 2017, the EU Commission grey-listed the country as a non-cooperative jurisdiction in tax matters. To make matters worse,in 2018 Tunisia was blacklisted by the European Parliament as a country at risk of money laundering. Since then, however, the government has deployed efforts to foster international assistance forits banking and insurance sectors as well as institutions tasked with the monitoring and investigation of money laundering and financing of terrorism. Progress has been made and Tunisia was eventually taken off the blacklist in October 2019.

    Civil society and social protection

    In Tunisia, all tribunals offer legal aid for civil and criminal cases. However, these services suffer from the heavy workload of the justice system. Meanwhile, there are no tangible crime prevention strategies or policies in Tunisia. Prevention strategies focusing on de-radicalization and youth are developed mostly by civil-society organizations and youth centres across the country, with the support of international organizations. Civil society is a vocal and active actor in many sectors, including security justice reform. A decree law adopted in 2011 protects media freedom. There is also an independent commission that supervises the audio-visual media in accordance with another decree law adopted in 2011. However, the climate for the media and journalists has reportedly worsened since the 2019 election.

    Analyses

    Pillage du patrimoine culturel de l'Afrique du Nord et de l'Ouest

    Les nouvelles tendances du trafic d'objets de grande valeur exigent de meilleures réponses aux niveaux national et mondial.

    For a better experience, please rotate your device.

    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.