Tell the EU to End Slavery in Libya -

Call to End Slavery in Libya

Watch our video for World Refugee Day.

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

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 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 African 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, 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.

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.

  • January 9-10, 2022: Libyan security forces violently break up and detain migrant protesters who were demanding protection from exploitation and abuse. Many are likely modern slavery victims. Read more.

  • December 2021: Two Nigerian trafficking survivors bring a case against Italy and Libya before the UN CEDAW committee (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women), accusing the countries of failing to protect their rights and leaving them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The case could lead to a revision of the migration policies affecting trafficking survivors in Libya and other transit countries.

  • November 23, 2021: The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) release a report arguing that the atrocities afflicted on migrants in Libya may amount to crimes against humanity and, as such, should be investigated and prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The report also questions the role of the European Union (EU) and its member states in facilitating these crimes. Read it here.

  • May 2021: A new UN report entitled ‘”Lethal Disregard” Search and rescue and the protection of migrants in the central Mediterranean Sea’ recommends the EU stop supporting the Libyan Coast Guard until respect for human rights can be demonstrated. Read it here.

  • March 15, 2021: The Government of National Unity  (GNU) was sworn in as the interim government of Libya.

  • Jun 19, 2017: Campaign Launches

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

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Andrew (Andy) Alcock
Andrew (Andy) Alcock
2 years ago

It was NATO that caused the whole catastrophe in Libya in 2011 by toppling its government, killing and maiming many of its people, creating massive numbers of refugees and destroying infrastructure. Now European governments don’t want to take responsibility for the refugees who are the victims of their criminal actions.

Citizens of NATO nations should ensure that their leaders take responsibility for the death and suffering that they caused and that they do everything to assist the victims.

3 days ago

Well said Andy!

Pedro Rabacal
Pedro Rabacal
10 months ago

I was Gaydafi duck who started this war by massacring protesters and calling them rats. It was he who supported terrorism for decades.
It were ALL arab dictators who massacred protesters during Arab Srping, most of them friends of USA.
Dont pretend it is not the fault of arab governments.

Johan Smuts
5 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Rabacal

Pedro you are absolutely right, and the EU countries know that.

Luigi Rosolin
Luigi Rosolin
2 years ago

What about Barack and Clinton affair there? Nato or France US??

Luigi Rosolin
Luigi Rosolin
2 years ago

Refuge are not only from Syria most are black young people from Africa that tray to follow the dream of EU, but end in picking up tomato in Italy under mafia or in Spain orticulture with same treatment. Pour pay, terrible condition. Some are like the Nigeria now controlling the prostitution and drug in Italy where people are logically not so happy about to had such criminal there by already fight drangheda, camorra and mafia with a lot of corruption. France and UK are not in better situation !

1 month ago
Reply to  Luigi Rosolin

turn white xtian and get id certificate signed by appropriate power in that commune.. simplest for all ..paygrade issue resolved for all time..

Yvonne Lyons
Yvonne Lyons
2 years ago

These atrocious acts against refugees in Libya are simply something that should never ever be able to exist and happen in this world today. Someone and some authority /body including the EU has to take responsibility for being part of the henious acts perpetrated upon these refugee victims. Unless this happens we will be a very long way from aiding these desperate people into living normal, decent and fulfilling lives.

1 year ago

Human trafficking is against humanity hence it must be end as early as possible ,thanks

biggi vinkeloe
biggi vinkeloe
1 year ago
Reply to  R.C.VIVEK

the only way to end migration chaos and trafficking is to abolish all boarders and let people decide where they want o settle and build up a new life or connect with loved ones. End asylum procedures which are costly and hurtful and devastating and give people a chance to make their own choices. Have the boarders in a symbolic way just like we have regions today, for community building and more closeness to everyday life business, education, healthcare, infrastructure…

7 months ago
Reply to  biggi vinkeloe

Is the door to your house going to be symbolic too? After all if a nations borders are symbolic and not public property but the worlds property, maybe your home is public property but not private property? You ought to practice what you preach and let some of those migrants settle in your home whenever they like, but alas I doubt it.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jhonny
Luigi Rosolin
Luigi Rosolin
2 years ago

North Africa but not only is under the colonialism of France with provide Libia arm also control the money as many nation there are using the stamped money provide by France. Africa multinational or colonialism had increase with extremist regime poverty and disparity. See Zimbabwe, Sudan, Congo, Marocco Nigeria. Also Islamic extremist active in Libia too are killing & use slavery as a commodity. EU, UN the world with China now there new colonials power are one fo the cause of the exodus.

Tell the EU to End Slavery in Libya

Help us reach 30,000 actions

To: EU member states

Modern slavery and horrific human rights abuses have persisted in Libya since the news of slave markets shocked the world two years ago.

Innocent people fleeing violence at home are being intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coastguard, returned to Libya and thrown in migrant detention centers.

The UN has called out the EU-funded Libyan Coastguard’s links to human trafficking networks. Furthermore, the airstrike of the Tajoura detention center, killing 53 people, should send a clear signal that these facilities are not safe in Libya’s civil war.

This is why I am calling on EU member states to step up for humanity. I urge EU governments to:

  1. Cease funding for the Libyan Coastguard
  2. Push to close all migrant detention centers in Libya, release and evacuate of all men, women and children currently detained there
  3. Set up of a disembarkation and relocation mechanism for people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea not tied to the Libyan Coastguard
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