In an attempt to make their way across to Europe, hundreds of West African migrants passing through Libya are reportedly being sold in modern-day slave markets.
This testimony was revealed by the UN migration agency, International Organisation of Migration (IOM).
According to the report, migrants from countries including Nigeria, Chad, Senegal and Gambia with no money and documentation are often forced into captivity and sold publicly to Libyans – with the support of Ghanaians and Nigerians who work for them. Aljazeera revealed that people are traded for between $200 and $500 ‘in garages and car parks in the southern city of Sabha, one of Libya’s main people-smuggling centres.’
The IOM recalled the testimony of a 34 year-old Senegalese migrant who had been sold at one of such markets. The trade took place at a dusty parking lot in Sabha, a hub of Libya’s human trafficking network in Southwestern Libya. According to the survivor, he had been among a group of people who had paid to be taken to the coast for a boat trip to Europe, but their driver suddenly said middlemen had not passed on his fees and put his passengers up for sale.
The Independent revealed the inhumane treatment of these migrants. It described captors being beaten, starved, and in some cases, killed.
Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s head of operation and emergencies said the dire situation adds to a long list of outrages in Libya.
“The more IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all too many migrants,” he added.
Libya has become a major port for African migrants attempting to illegally enter Europe by sea. An estimated 25,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea this year through Libya.