UNHCR report details dangers faced by migrants in Libya

TMP – 20/07/2017

A new study published by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR finds that migrants making the journey through Libya are increasingly vulnerable. Fewer support services en-route and the deteriorating security situation is putting many migrants at risk.

Of particular concern, the study found that almost all migrants arriving in Libya seek the help of smugglers or criminal networks to get there, who charge fees of around US$5,000. In turn the smuggling industry has grown increasingly dangerous and armed groups play now play dominant role.

Predominantly it is young men who are on the move. However, trafficking for sexual exploitation also seems to be increasing, affecting Nigerian and Cameroonian women in particular. The number of unaccompanied and separated children travelling alone in Libya is also rising.

The study found that around half of those travelling to Libya do so believing they can find jobs there, but end up fleeing to escape life-threatening dangers, widespread exploitation and abuse.

The report recommends that international and national organizations address the problem by providing relief to migrants in key towns in southern Libya, including Bani Walid, Rebyana, Tazerbu and Kufra.

Another recommendation is to  border controls and rescue operations of migrants who are stranded in the desert.

The study draws on interviews with hundreds of migrants, as well as government officials, NGO workers and smugglers in Chad, Niger, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Italy.