By Sanae ElouaziRabat - While stranded for more than six months in Libya, a large group of Moroccan migrants, attempting to reach Europe, found themselves victim to various forms of coercion, arbitrary detention, and even slavery, reported Telquel Arabi.
By Sanae Elouazi
Rabat – While stranded for more than six months in Libya, a large group of Moroccan migrants, attempting to reach Europe, found themselves victim to various forms of coercion, arbitrary detention, and even slavery, reported Telquel Arabi.
The dream of reaching the “European Eldorado” through Libya has turned into a nightmare for more than 200 Moroccans, who say they were the subject of human trafficking by smugglers before being detained by Libyan forces in Tripoli and the center of Zouara near the Tunisian border.
The families of Moroccans detained in Libya told the media outlet that their relatives had to pay an average of MAD 40,000 to intermediaries who were supposed to help them reach Italy.
These families are also in continuous contact with the smugglers in Libya.
Ibtisam. A., a sister of one of the Moroccan victims from Fkih Bensaleh, told Telquel that her brother went to Libya via Algeria with two other relatives hoping to reach Italy, but they ended up taken hostage by trafficking networks.
She added that these networks contacted her family to ask for a ransom, or else the hostage, her brother, would be murdered. The family then had no choice but to hand over the money to the intermediaries.
One of the Moroccans detained in Libya revealed in an audio note that he also had to pay MAD 40,000 to land in Italy but found himself hostage in Libya.
“A gang had sequestered us and made contact with the head of a clandestine immigration network to sell us. The transaction took place, and our buyer forced us to pay double the amount he paid to buy us. The army ended up storming the houses we lived in Sabratha (northwestern Libya), and we ended up in a detention center,” the migrant said.
“When you arrive in Libya and fall into the hands of illegal immigration networks, you put aside your dignity, and you become a slave who has to do everything asked from him, otherwise, you will be killed without no one’s knowledge,” added another migrant, originally from Sidi Bennour.
He added that seven Moroccans have been subjected to torture and abuse after they released a video demonstrating the their miserable living conditions.
“We do not have any medicine, no hygiene products, and fleas make our lives worse,” he said.
He also called for help and for a speedy intervention from Moroccan authorities to help the migrants return home as soon as possible.
Libya, which is a transit and a destination country for many migrants, has long been a hub for smugglers and human traffickers who operate freely, taking advantage of the chaos in the war-torn country.