11:11, 09 July 2020
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IOM: African migrants traded in Libya's 'slave markets'

Hundreds of African refugees and migrants passing through Libya

are being bought and sold in modern-day slave markets before being held for ransom or used as forced labour or for sexual exploitation, survivors have told the UN's migration agency. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday that it had interviewed West African migrants who recounted being traded in garages and car parks in the southern city of Sabha, one of Libya's main people-smuggling centres. People are bought for between $200 and $500 and are held on average for two to three months, Othman Belbeisi, head of the IOM's Libya mission, said in Geneva. "Migrants are being sold in the market as a commodity," he said. "Selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger and stronger." The refugees and migrants - many from Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia - are captured as they head north towards Libya's Mediterranean coast, where some try to catch boats for Italy. Along the way, they are prey to an array of armed groups and people-smuggling networks that often try to extort extra money in exchange for allowing them to continue.