Latest modern slavery fight updates -

Libyan authorities free an estimated 156 migrants from traffickers

  • Published on
    February 26, 2021
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Human Trafficking
Hero Banner

Authorities in Libya have raided a secret prison this week, freeing at least 156 African migrants from human traffickers.

As reported in the Associated Press, at least six traffickers were arrested and referred to prosecutors for further investigation after a migrant escaped the makeshift prison and reported to authorities that he and many others were being tortured by human traffickers.

Since the country was plunged into a destabilising civil war in 2011, Libya has become a major transit point for African and Arab migrants attempting to reach Europe.

Human traffickers have exploited this instability, often packing desperate families into makeshift rafts to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Those rescued in this week’s raid were from Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan and were taken to a shelter where they were provided with food, clothes, and blankets.

Since the start of the year, the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that roughly 3,600 migrants have been intercepted trying to cross into Europe over the Mediterranean Sea.

In the last week alone, 1,315 have been stopped and returned to Libya, where they are taken to squalid detention centers run by militias that have been linked to Libyan authorities and funded by the European Union.

Freedom United is urgently calling on the E.U. to cease funding the Libyan Coastguard who is responsible for forcibly returning migrants to horrific conditions in Libyan detention centers where they are subjected to forced labor and torture.

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.

Efforts to stop African and Arab migrants entering Europe are driven by the European Union’s inhumane immigration policy, which works closely with Libyan authorities to prevent migrants entering Europe and sends them back to Libya.

These efforts have left migrants with no other option than to try and migrate clandestinely, therefore increasing their risk  to human trafficking and abuse.

This has led to calls from the IOM for an “urgent and measurable shift in approach” to the situation in the Mediterranean, including no longer sending migrants back to Libya as it is too unsafe.

A 2019 AP investigation found militias in Libya torture, abuse, and detain migrants in detention centers that have received millions in European funding.

Take action today and sign Freedom United’s petition telling the E.U. to stop fuelling modern slavery and human trafficking in Libya.


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
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Helen Hansen
Helen Hansen
3 years ago

This is ourtageous – to treat migrants so badly. The EU and other bodies must step in immediately to stop this abuse.

3 years ago

Dont send them here. We don’t want them.

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more