Libya is the main transit point for refugees and migrants that are eager to reach Europe by sea. As a result, hundreds of African refugees are reportedly being sold in slave markets across Libya. In the past three years, more than 450,000 migrants have crossed into Europe from Libya. According to the international organization for migration (IOM) – the U.Ns migration agency, almost 3000 of them have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea. With the help from Italy and the E.U.
, the Libyan coast guard has been capturing large ships smuggling people into Europe. Italy is aiding Libya with committed ships, helicopters, and drones in order to ensure the reduction of Africans in international waters. Italy has seen an 87% drop in the number of Africans reaching its shores, leaving many asylum seekers no home or anywhere to go.
An estimated number of 400,000 to almost one million migrants are currently trapped in Libya, thus overcrowding detention centers. Which lead to rising reports of rape, murder and robbery. The conditions the migrants are being subjected to described as “horrific” and “inhumane”, refugees are vulnerable to being sold off as laborers in slave markets.
Libya’s U.N. representative has called reports of the slave trade a “false media campaign of defamation” Human trafficking has risen sharply today since the Italian government began paying Libyan militant groups and smuggling to stabilize the flow of migrants over the sea. People now find difficulty making to the shores of Lampedusa and southern Italy and are rather detained in detention centers in Libya. International and media pressure lead to the formation of a formal investigation into the allegations. The non-governed side of Libya perceives the slave trade as an exceptional lucrative industry given the country’s failed attempt to implement rule of law, leading to factions of militias, tribes and gangs. Key terms / organizations International Organization for migration: an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees and migrant workers Internally displaced person(s) / refugees: someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders, despite being referred to as refugees, they do not fall within the legal definitions of a refugee Background In 2008, Italy agreed to pay Muammar al-Qaddafi (ruled Libya for 29 years) $5 billion over 25 years as colonization reparations. In exchange Qaddafi agreed to control the flow of refugees to Europe.
Both countries inevitably began to capture asylum seekers who’d made it to sea and return them to Libya. Qaddafi began insisting that the European Union pay Libya 6.3 billion in order for the prevention of refugees reaching Europe. The Arab spring started thereafter, leading to Qaddafi’s death, leaving the central Mediterranean route to Europe newly open. Tracing back to the captured migrants.Possible solutionsSupporting the International Organization for migration, through means such as awareness, funding, donation etc.
Donation to global anti-slavery organizations such as “Free the slaves”, “End Slavery Now” and “Polaris Project”. Global support and international outrage often leads to international pressure and obliges countries to take action. Advocating for a thorough investigation by the United Nations, supporting current one allows for international callings