The report emerged amid the rescue of a number of sub-Saharan migrants after they had been sold and held captive for months in slave markets in Sabha in southwestern Libya.
"Over the past few days, I have discussed these stories with several who told me horrible stories. They all confirmed the risks of been sold as slaves in squares or garages in Sabha, either by their drivers or by locals who recruit the migrants for daily jobs in town, often in construction, and later, instead of paying them, sell their victims to new buyers. Some migrants – mostly Nigerians, Ghanaians and Gambians – are forced to work for the kidnappers/slave traders as guards in the ransom houses or in the ‘market’ itself," an IOM Niger staffer said as quoted in the report.
According to the IOM, the staff in Libya has managed to gain access to several detention centers where migrants who fall into the hands of smugglers face systematic malnutrition, sexual abuse and even murder.
Lybia serves as one of the main transit points for African migrants seeking passage to Europe to escape violence and poverty in their native homelands.