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E.U.’s deadly migration policy claims 60 more lives off Libyan coast

  • Published on
    December 17, 2023
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Law & Policy
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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 60 persons drowned last week attempting the cross the Mediterranean and enter Europe.

Officials caution that “the central Mediterranean remains one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes, claiming thousands of lives.” As desperate individuals seek refuge from harrowing conditions, such as conflict, persecution, and forced labor, the dangerous journey exposes them not only to life-threatening risks but also to exploitative conditions.

“Not enough is being done to save lives at sea”

There are no state-led search and rescue ships actively patrolling the areas where boats are most likely to encounter difficulties. In fact, the E.U.’s current arrangement with the Libyan coastguard, which includes training and equipment, focuses on interception and return – taking those discovered on boats back to Libya and locking them up in migrant detention centers.

The burden then falls on NGOs, such as Alarm Phone, a hotline for people on boats in distress, to attempt search and rescue missions. Alarm Phone reports that, in this case, on receiving the distress call, they reached out to the Libyan coastguard, which said they would not search for the migrants. This is both alarming and yet sadly unsurprising given that there is no mandate to rescue persons in trouble at sea, only to prevent persons crossing borders into Europe.

The IOM reports that over 2000 people have died on this route this year alone.

Death or exploitation – or both

People attempting to make the journey from Libya are escaping unimaginable horrors and are vulnerable to exploitation.

Samy Magdy and Renata Brito from the Associate Press report,

Human traffickers in recent years have benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling in migrants across the country’s lengthy borders, which it shares with six nations. The migrants are crowded onto ill-equipped vessels, including rubber boats, and set off on risky sea voyages.

Those who are intercepted and returned to Libya are held in government-run detention centers rife with abuses, including forced labor, beatings, rapes and torture — practices that amount to crimes against humanity, according to U.N.-commissioned investigators.

The abuse often accompanies attempts to extort money from the families of the imprisoned migrants before allowing them to leave Libya on traffickers’ boats to Europe.

Join the movement  

Together with other activists and organizations, we’re making it clear to the European Union that we won’t stand for its complicity in modern slavery.  

We cannot let the E.U. and member states continue to prop up this horrific system just to stem new arrivals. Join the fight today. 


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Jacinthe Armand
Jacinthe Armand
5 months ago

Since NATO and USA are responsible for Gaddafi’s death, they owe it to Libyan refugees to take care of them. By killing Gaddafi, they destroyed the lives of Libyans and now these poor people are being victimized again. To solve migration problems worldwide, have USA and European countries stop meddling in other countries affairs that impoverish them. Their international tentacles are the cause of desperate migration. Most people would prefer living in their homeland.

Rebecca Stephens
Rebecca Stephens
5 months ago

It is so awful that the UN is not concerned to stop the human trafficking! The UN is not doing their job to help the needs of the people who need it most, All the while the UN have a lavish life an forget their real jobs!

B. H.
B. H.
5 months ago

I really feel for the people who want to escape but you can’t expect other countries to take them ALL in. There are just too many people around the world who want to leave their own countries. Even the southern border in the U.S. has major problems. It is just too unsustainable to empty out most countries and put them somewhere else. Most if not all of the countries that people want to escape to have their own problems with homeless populations and other issues regarding the cost of living.

Francis Bosco
5 months ago

Situations are becoming worse, understand Libya exodus also we should realise the situation of Palestine. Lets try to work together for migrants crisis

5 months ago

I don’t understand why people are unwilling to help each other. Where is the humanity?

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