With Libyas civil war closing off usual routes to Europe, desperate sub-Saharan migrants are turning to neighbouring Algeria, where there are few support networks
They call the building Guantnamo because its inhabitants say it feels like a prison. Situated on the outskirts of Algiers, it has two floors, no roof, piles of bedding - and a teeming microcosm of at least 30 itinerant west Africans.
Residents come and go - people from Cameroon, Guinea, Niger. They conduct their love affairs, conflicts, business, card games, and look for work wherever they can find it.
Their principal aim is to move further north, to Europe. But since neighbouring Libya cracked down on migrants using its beaches as a launchpad to Europe, passage through Algeria has become more complicated.
Almost everyone we knew [there] is in Europe now, Josiane, a Cameroonian woman, said, looking at a picture of friends who have made it to Italy.
In his flat on the western outskirts of Algiers, Luc, another Cameroonian, has been making space for another arrival. His girlfriends cousin and 10-year-old son are expected that day. She has family in France they made the journey last year, he said.
His father, who made it to Europe a year ago after several years in Algeria, paid for the boys journey from Douala, Cameroons largest city. He arrived on his own about six months ago and was supposed to take the Libyan route, but fighting in Sabratha has meant departures have been suspended.
Luc sums up the situation: The older ones have gone. And young ones have arrived. Since they cant leave, they wait here.
The Algerian authorities have been mounting a crackdown of their own, according to human rights groups, rounding up hundreds of migrants and deporting them. Human Rights Watch said on Monday that more than 3,000 had been expelled in the past two months, including pregnant women, newborn babies and unaccompanied children.
There are around 100,000 African migrants in Algeria, according to unofficial estimates, most from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
At another location on the southern edge of the Algerian capital, mattresses are strewn along the pavements of a series of half-built apartment blocks. A group of young people from Conakry, the capital of Guinea, are dying their hair.
I got here three months ago, said one. Every morning, dozens of boys like him wait by the side of the road for someone to offer them a days work. I didnt know it would be difficult to find work in Algeria, said Mohamed, who gives his age as 17.