Each year, tens of thousands of people
pour into Libya -- the final transit stop before a short but dangerous
sea voyage across the Mediterranean to Europe.
For those involved in the smuggling and trafficking networks
it has been a lucrative and exploitative business with revenues in the
billions, according to the European Migrant Smuggling Center (EMSC).
2015, migrant smuggling networks made between EUR 4.7 billion and EUR
5.7 billion trafficking people bound for Europe, according to a 2017
EMSC report. There was a sharp decline in 2016, with profits falling by
nearly EUR 2 billion from 2015, according to the same report.
A crackdown by the Libyan coastguard
means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a
backlog of would-be passengers on their hands. As a result, there are
increasing reports of migrants being sold in slave auctions before
facing the most appalling conditions.
testimonies provided to the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) have revealed "the image of a Libya in chaos, where violence and
abuse are increasingly frequent and armed groups find human beings an
extremely profitable source of money."
Last year, CNN reporters went undercover at a slave market in Libya
to document the violation of human rights and inhumane treatment that have so many desperate migrants have suffered.
situation is dire," Mohammed Abdiker, the IOM director of operation and
emergencies, told CNN in November. "Some reports are truly horrifying
and the latest reports of 'slave markets' for migrants can be added to a
long list of outrages."
evidence filmed by CNN was handed over to the Libyan authorities, who
immediately launched investigations into the networks operating in the
The footage also sparked international condemnation and a backlash of protests around the world.
The co-designating countries highlighted CNN's reporting on Libya's slave trade.
was CNN that drove the attention to this terrible slave trade that has
been going on in Libya for far too long," Blok, the Dutch Foreign
Minister, told CNN.
Netherlands is currently a member of the UN Security Council, we
proposed to them to impose sanctions on six of the worst perpetrators --
and that will mean that this crime won't be left unpunished."
According to evidence provided to the Security Council, the targets are:
ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-MILAD
29-year-old Libyan is a commander of the European Union-funded Coast
Guard based in Zawiya. The UN panel of experts claims he has been
consistently linked to violence against migrants and has used firearms
to sink migrant boats.
He is also
accused by several witnesses of rounding up migrants at sea and taking
them to the notorious al-Nasr detention center, where they are said to
be held in brutal conditions and subjected to beatings.
commander of the Anas al-Dabbashi militia group and leader of a
transnational trafficking network actively operating in Zawiya has been
accused of working directly with terror groups.
documents state that his militia group controls "departure areas for
migrants, camps, safe houses and boats," and has exposed migrants --
including minors -- to "brutal conditions and sometimes fatal
circumstances on land and at sea."
militia group is also accused of having "long standing" links with ISIS
and is said to have had "several" of the terror group's "operatives" in
Libyan multimillionaire has been targeted for mistreating migrants and
selling women from Sub-Saharan countries and Morocco as "sex slaves" on
the "local market."
head of the Suhada al Nasr brigade in Zawiya and has direct links to
Al-Milad. His militia group is said to control a central hub of
smuggling operations at the Zawiya refinery.
Evidence gathered by the UN panel of experts defines the condition of migrants held in detention by Kachlaf as "critical."
arrest warrant was issued for Ermias Ghermay by the Italian police in
2015. Italian authorities say the Eritrean is directly involved in a
shipwreck on October 3, 2013, in which 266 people died near the Italian
island of Lampedusa.
documents state that Ghermay heads up an East African network that has
smuggled "tens of thousands of migrants" and that his human-smuggling
network stretches "from Sudan to the coast of Libya and to Europe... and
the United States."
35-year-old Libyan is accused of leading a transnational trafficking
network, smuggling 45,000 people over the sea in 2015 alone. Abu-Qarin
goes by the nomme de guerre "The Doctor," and has been identified as a
"central actor" in human-trafficking activities in and around Sabratha,
Libya. He is said to operate alongside Ghermay, who "takes care of the
'Eastern Supply Chain'" on behalf of Abu-Qarin.
Abu-Qarin is accused of organizing a migrant boat journey from Libya to
Italy on April 18, 2015, in which 800 people drowned after the boat
sank off the Libyan coast. It is to date one of the worst migrant boat
disasters in the Mediterranean Sea.
Additional evidence states Abu-Qarin is responsible for the detention of migrants in brutal conditions.
Abu-Qarin and Ghermay, the Eritrean is said to be responsible for
smuggling tens of thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa to the
coast of Libya, and onward to Europe and the United States. He is
identified in the UN documents as a significant player in the
exploitation and abuse of "a large number of migrants in Libya."
is accused of "serious human rights abuses" operating alongside Libyan
criminal organizations, while accumulating "immense wealth" through the
trafficking of people.
Abdelrazak is said to be linked to at least two fatal shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.