- Some Nigerians and other West Africans try to reach Europe through the sea from Libya
- The recounted tales of woes on how they were sold into slavery
- Those whose families could not provide the ransoms were killed
Nigerian and other West African migrant attempting to reach Europe through Libya have narrated tales of horror as they are sold as slaves in the open market.
The Guardian reports that some of the survivors told a UN agency helping them to return home that human trafficking has been so common-place that it is done in the open.
The migrant have complained about extortion and forced labour in the past but according to the International Organization for Migration, the situation is worse now.
Many Nigerians have seen Europe as a greener pasture and have attempted to reach the continent through Libya and sometimes with great risk due to bad weather at sea and overcrowded boats.
Mohammed Abdiker who is IOM’s head of operation and emergencies said: “The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages [in Libya].
“The situation is dire. The more IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all too many migrants.”
A Senegalese survivor narrated that he was taken to the south Libyan city of Sabha after crossing the desert from Niger in a bus organised by people smugglers. T
They had planned to go to Europe, but their driver suddenly said middlemen had not passed on his fees and put his passengers up for sale.
Livia Manante, an IOM officer based in Niger, said many of the survivors who returned home narrated the treatment they go through in Libya.
Manente said: “Several other migrants confirmed his story, independently describing kinds of slave markets as well as kinds of private prisons all over in Libya”
“IOM Italy has confirmed that this story is similar to many stories reported by migrants and collected at landing points in southern Italy, including the slave market reports. This gives more evidence that the stories reported are true, as the stories of those who managed to cross-match those who are returning back to their countries.”
The Senegalese migrant was taken to a kind of prison where other migrants were also kept and given meagre food and made to work without being paid.
Sometimes, the put a phone call through to the captives’ family members demanding for ransom and if it did not come they would be transferred to a larger facility with the ransom doubled.
Some of the migrants are killed if they stayed too long at the facility while other simply died through to poor feeding.
“If the number of migrants goes down, because of death or someone is ransomed, the kidnappers just go to the market and buy one,” Manente said.