Libya: Chiedi ai tuoi rappresentanti di smettere di facilitare la schiavitù in Libia! - Libya

Call to end slavery in Libya

Make your voice heard

Share this petition

Watch our video for World Refugee Day.

Modern slavery in Libya

The world was shocked when news of slave markets in Libya broke four years ago, but since then cases of modern slavery, slave trade, and slave auctions in Libya have evolved considerably. And they are all linked back to migrant detention centers and the money and power fueling their existence.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations have all documented major human rights violations and clear cases of modern slavery in these facilities.

So who’s throwing these vulnerable people behind bars?

The Libyan Coastguard — supported generously by funding from the European Union.1,2

Libya’s coastguard and Europe’s complicity

In a bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching the shores of Europe, the Libyan Coastguard has increased its interception of boats in the Mediterranean Sea, returning those on board to Libya and locking them up in migrant detention centers.3

And as the devastating, deadly airstrike on the Tajoura migrant detention center shows, these facilities are now targets in the country’s ongoing conflict and have no place for refugees to live.

We know racism within Libya is contributing to the problem as well; black and dark-skinned refugees and migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa are the majority of those trafficked and subjected to forced labor. The United Nations even reported that “a commonly used word to refer to black people in Libya is ‘abidat’, which translates to “slaves.”4

Take it from Leyla, a Somali refugee.

“We barely ate and there wasn’t enough water. So many people were sick with TB, and some died in my arms. I was beaten up and we were tortured – with electricity,” she said.5

She and her husband fled Islamist al-Shabab militants in Somalia in 2016 but ended up in the hands of human traffickers in Libya. When they managed to escape their traffickers, the couple boarded an inflatable boat, hoping to cross the Mediterranean.

But when their boat ran out of fuel it was the Libyan Coastguard that forcibly took them to Tripoli, locking them up in the Triq al-Sikka Detention Center. Running out of hope that they would be freed, her husband set himself on fire, burning to death.

How you can help

A petition has been prepared, we must break this cycle of exploitation.

And that starts with putting pressure on the EU. Telling the EU to put human lives before inhume immigration policies that are sending refugees and migrants back into danger in Libya.

Your signature tells the EU that it can no longer be complicit in allowing modern slavery to persist in Libya. Act now and sign the petition.

  • May 2023: “We have been killed, we have been raped, we have been tortured, we have been extorted, and we have been put to forced labor,” says David Yambio, Libya survivor and advocate. Listen to his testament here.


  • December 2022: Human Rights Watch and Border Forensics have released in a multimedia research feature with a clear conclusion: the E.U.’s border agency, Frontex, is using aerial surveillance to facilitate returns to Libya, where people on the move face systematic abuse, often amounting to modern slavery.  By alerting the Libyan Coast Guard to the location of migrant boats, Frontex is complicit in the abuse people suffer on return to Libya. Read more.

  • November 2022: Despite hundreds of activists taking to the streets around Europe and flooding social media, Italy’s far-right government failed to take action against modern slavery in Libya. The Italy-Libya Memorandum was renewed, but we won’t stop fighting for justice and freedom for every person who faces forced labor, torture, extortion and abuse in Libya.

  • October, 2022: Hundreds of you in the Freedom United community have taken to Twitter to call on the Ambassador of Italy to Libya and the Ministry of the Interior to cancel the Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding. From Barcelona to Berlin, activists in at least 15 European cities also protested on October 15. Read more.

  • Jun 19, 2017: Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

È aberrante che l’Unione Europea, e l’Italia in particolare, finanzino gli abusi sui migranti in Libia.

This Campaign made an impact with 62 supporters!

Latest activity
  • Latest activity
    Emily T.
  • Latest activity
    Simon W.
  • Latest activity
    Silvia G.
Campaign partners