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04 December 2017

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IOM has registered more than 400,000 migrants in Libya, but estimate the number of migrants to actually be between 700,000 to 1 million. Photo: T. Jawashi/AFP/Getty Images

The Migration Dilemma: 'We Were Treated Like Animals'

Libya (DW)  Thousands of African migrants trying to get to Europe end up trapped in Libya. Often they endure abuse, and some are even sold into slavery. DW's Migration Dilemma series looks at why people risk the journey.

Enoch Yeboah left his home in Ghana in 2013 and headed to Libya with the hope of crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. But his dream of starting a new life ended soon after setting off.
He traveled north by bus to Niger where he found a middleman who offered to help him.

"The man charged me 200 CFA francs, so I paid the money and we (crossed) the desert to Libya," the 27-year-old recalls. "We were treated like animals, no respect for human rights. We were just like animals to them."

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French superstar Paul Pogba's "shackles" celebration brought much needed attention to the inhumane conditions that thousands of African migrants stuck in Libya find themselves in. Photo: Getty Images

Pogba’s Shackled Celebration Increased Attention to Libya Migrant Slave Trade: UN Migration Agency

(Goal) — With one simple gesture the son of African migrants did more to raise awareness of slavery in Libya than any politician on the planet

More than 80 African and European leaders met in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Wednesday and Thursday last week for the fifth annual African Union – European Union summit.

Top of the agenda was the issue of slavery. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) – a UN body – first reported in April that African migrants – now numbering a reported 700,000 - travelling north through Niger and Libya were being kidnapped by people traffickers and sold into forced labour for as little as £400.

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Mosul's health care infrastructure was severely damaged during the 2016-2017 offensive to retake the city from ISIL. Photo: Raber Aziz / IOM 2017

Mosul's Strained Heath Care: Rebuilding Al-Salam Hospital

Iraq (IOM) — In October 2016, the Iraqi forces began moving to retake Mosul from ISIL. Saad Sultan and his family, like everyone else, tried to flee the city before the conflict intensified. They left their Al Aden neighbourhood where fighting was approaching for Al Hadbaa, where Saad’s parents lived, a few neighbourhoods farther north – both areas are in East Mosul. But for them, the journey on foot took a whole day as Saad, supported by his wife, literally gasped for air all along the way due to exhaustion from cardiac complications and blocked arteries. “I could barely breathe, and bullets were flying over our heads.”

Saad’s family decided to stay until their neighbourhood was retaken by Iraqi forces – come what may.

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Ngulinda: "It was difficult for me to forge my identity because I did not fit into society's boxes."
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Migration in the News

  • Voice of America reported that the United States has informed the United Nations that it will no longer participate in the Global Compact on Migration.
  • ABC News, Just Earth News, Xinhua reported top officials from across the UN system, including IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, released a joint statement that called for the Saudi-led coalition to fully lift its blockade of Yemen's Red Sea ports which can put millions at risk of starving. 
  • Al Jazeera reported that Rohingya girls and women in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar are being sold as sex slaves, according to a victim and aid agencies. 
  • Arab News reported that as the number of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh swells to over 830,000, women are increasingly being targeted by the sex trade, and according to IOM, the urgency of addressing the issue ‘cannot be overstated’.
  • Nigeria’s This Day spoke to a Nigerian migrant who shared his ordeal after recently returning back home from Libya where he was sold and later left for dead. 
  • The Daily Beast spoke to several of the migrants who had been enslaved at the hands of Boko Haram, escaped and fled to the streets of Nigerian cities or to displaced persons camps, and then raised money to pay smugglers to take them to Libya. 
  • Tribal Football reported that Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been thanked for highlighting the slave auctions in Libya last week. 
  • Borgen Project reported that two months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, a robust domestic response from international donors and the government of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is helping reconstruction in Dominica pick up pace. 

Trending on the Internet

  • AFP reported that a year after France dismantled the notorious "Jungle" migrant camp at Calais, nearly 100 Africans can be found living out in the cold in the northern French port of Ouistreham.
  • Kayhan Life published the work of award-winning Spanish-Iranian photojournalist César Dezfuli who took portraits of migrants shortly after being plucked from the Mediterranean Sea on board their rescue ship Iuventa.


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