Although trafficked people passing through Libya have previously reported violence, extortion and slave labour, the latest reports from IOM suggests that the trade in human beings has become so normalised that people are being traded in public.
“The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages in Libya,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s head of operation and emergencies. “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.”
The north African nation is a major exit point for refugees from Africa trying to take get to Europe on rubber boats. But since the overthrow of autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country has slid into violent chaos and migrants with little cash and usually no papers are particularly vulnerable.
One 34-year-old survivor from Senegal said he was taken to a dusty lot in the south Libyan city of Sabha after crossing the desert from Niger in a bus organised by people smugglers. The group had paid to be taken to the coast, where they planned to risk a boat trip to Europe, but their driver suddenly said middlemen had not passed on his fees and put his passengers up for sale.
“The men on the pick-up were brought to a square, or parking lot, where a kind of slave trade was happening. There were locals – he described them as Arabs – buying sub-Saharan migrants,” said Livia Manante, an IOM officer based in Niger who helps people wanting to return home.
She interviewed the survivor after he escaped from Libya earlier this month and said accounts of slave markets were confirmed by other migrants she spoke to in Niger and some who had been interviewed by colleagues in Europe.
“Several other migrants confirmed his story, independently describing kinds of slave markets as well as kinds of private prisons all over in Libya,” Manente said.
“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.”
After his sale, the Senegalese migrant was taken to a makeshift prison of a kind that has been well documented in Libya. Those held inside are forced to work without pay, or on meagre rations, and their captors regularly call family at home demanding a ransom. His captors asked for 300,000 west African francs (about £380), then sold him on to a larger jail where the demand doubled without explanation.
Men who lingered there too long without the ransom being paid were taken away and killed, he said. Some wasted away on meagre rations in unsanitary conditions, dying of hunger and disease, but overall numbers never fell.
“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.
His terrified family began scraping together loans. As he spoke fluent English, French and some local languages, he translated for his jailers to win time for relatives to collect the money.
“Many other migrants flee Libya with similar stories, said Giuseppe Loprete, chief of mission at IOM Niger. “Its very clear they see themselves as being treated as slaves,” he added.
Loprete’s office has arranged for the repatriation of 1,500 people in the first three months of this year – almost the same number as in the whole of 2015. He fears more horrors are likely to emerge.
“There are now more migrants coming back from Libya, so that’s also why all these stories are coming to the surface,” he said. “And conditions are worsening in Libya so I think we can also expect more in the coming months.”
Even growing international awareness of the problems migrants face is being exploited. IOM has had credible reports of criminals posing as aid groups that help migrants to lure in people who have escaped or bought their freedom and want to return home.
The organisation is working to spread awareness across west Africa of the horrors of the journey through the personal stories of those who return. Though most migrants know the boat trips to Europe are extremely risky, fewer realise they may face even worse dangers in Libya before even reaching the coast.
“Tragically, the most credible messengers are migrants returning home with IOM help,” said spokesman Leonard Doyle. “Too often they are broken, brutalised and have been abused. Their voices carry more weight than anyone else’s.”
Employment seeking girl steals N108k from her prospective employer
Opportunity comes but once, this young girl believes as she stole N108k from her prospective employer. A female jobseeker has been captured for taking One Hundred and Eight Thousand Naira amid her prospective employee meeting in Delta State.
It was accumulated that the businessperson at the organization had ventured out to get something, leaving the suspect in the workplace. The young lady professedly utilized the chance to take N108k and fled.
Good fortune, be that as it may, ran out on her, days after the fact, while going through the road where the workplace is found. She was expeditiously caught and dragged to her home where the rest of the cash was recovered.
Lagos tenant uses Landlord’s apartment to dupe house appliance vendors of N50 million
Hey peepz, I have a gist tho I don’t know if it’s true or not..But I will say it Sha. I was just walking on the street 2receive fresh air when I saw a couple. d man was telling his wife about an incident. I kukuma slowed down an walked behind them to hear d full gist.
It was more like a scam story. A certain man walked up to a Landlord in our area and requested to rent his apartment for 2 months, with the excuse that he was traveling to Canada and just came to Lagos for the Visa Processing.. They agreed on 150K.
The man paid and took ownership of the apartment.He then went out to Vendors in town and negotiated to buy expensive items on lease. With installment payment plans.. He was said to have collected home appliance worth N50,000,000 from various vendors.
He then took them all to the apartment one by one to build trust. At least once they know he lives there, they can easily come around and pack their stuffs if he defaults, these people didn’t know what would hit them was going to be deadlier than Tsunami.
As agreed with the Landlord, the man packed out even earlier than expected… Left with all the items, of which he had not finished the payment..and the Landlord was so happy to have struck a better deal He immediately rented out the apartment to another family.
One by one, the creditors began to come in and same story was relieved to them.. Some fainted, some threatened hell fire …. To cut the long story short, Baba Ijebu was arrested alongside the new tenant.. You know Naija now… #POLICE no wan hear wuen
They were only saved after a Landlord intervened. He is a legal practitioner and took up the case. But sincerely speaking. I wonder how some people feel at rest knowing fully well their victims would suffer. I guess it all centers on lack of conscience. This is bad #dojon
It was more like a scam story. 🙆 A certain man walked up to a Landlord in our area and requested to rent his apartment for 2 months, with the excuse that he was traveling to Canada 🍁 and just came to Lagos for the Visa Processing.. They agreed on 150K.
— Diary of a Jobless Nigerian Youth (@wenogetjob) May 15, 2018
How a middle-aged man died after withdrawing N100,200 from the bank will shock you
What could have taken the life of a middle-aged man, identified only as Muyibi, who collapsed and died in a commercial cab in the Ojota area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro reports that Muyibi boarded the cab after withdrawing money from a United Bank for Africa branch in the Ogudu area. Then the driver had turned to to take his fee from Muyibi when he realized the man had become motionless. After reaching the terminus, a resident told Punch’s correspondent that the driver alighted from the cab to slightly push Muyibi, who was cold.
The resident, who did not want to be identified, said,
“The driver had picked some other passengers along the way, and they had all paid and dropped off at their various bus stops.
“When the victim did not respond when they got to the terminus, the driver parked the cab to rouse him, but he was cold.
The driver raised the alarm, which drew the attention of commuters and passersby to the scene. People checked him and discovered that the man was dead.”
Policemen from the Ogudu division were said to have been alerted to the incident. The driver’s vehicle was impounded just like that, while the man’s body was deposited in a morgue.
A source person at the terminus who spoke with Punch newspaper confirmed the incident, saying:
“It happened around 3pm on Friday. The man went to withdraw some money in UBA. The Ogudu Divisional Police Officer was compassionate; she pitied the cab driver, who had become jittery.
Although the man was not detained, his cab was impounded at the station pending when the deceased’s family would show up,” he added.
Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the police recovered N100,200 from the victim’s bag.
“The man was on his way to Ojota when he collapsed and died. We recovered the sum of N100,200 from his bag.
He also had a phone, which had a new SIM card. There is no contact on the phone and nobody has called him. We have a lead as to where he could be living.
His body has been deposited in a morgue for autopsy.”
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