Migrants and refugees passing through Libya sold in slave markets

African migrants rescued and assisted by the International Organization for Migration African migrants rescued and assisted by the International Organization for Migration Reuters

14 June 2017
Hundreds of migrants and refugees on their way to Europe are being captured, held and enslaved in Libya.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), after being kidnapped, men, women and children, coming mainly from West Africa, are forcefully retained and subsequently sold in public places, such as car parks or garages, The IOM has collected a series of shocking first-hand testimonies bearing witness to the brutal reality of modern slavery in North Africa.

Smugglers and armed militia intercept and hold in squalid detention centres many women, children and men who have undertaken the dangerous journey across Africa in search for safety in Europe. Beaten, sexually abused and forced to work, hundreds of migrants are held while waiting for ransoms too exorbitant to be paid, to then be murdered or sold.    

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Amnesty and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have all joined the IOM’s appeal to counter trafficking and expose the terrible reality of human trafficking in Libya. The victims and witnesses’ accounts that these organizations have collected recount the dehumanizing reality of modern slavery. Migrants falling in the hand of smugglers are deprived of their liberty and victims of physical abuse. In addition, trafficked migrants suffer from the psychological trauma that comes from being forced to watch other migrants die, or from having to call their own families to ask for ransom, while being beaten. The IOM is actively fighting to counter human trafficking and is assisting victims in Libya and globally.


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