The UN has imposed sanctions on six key human traffickers in Libya in a bid to take action against trafficking rings selling migrants as slaves.
The motion, presented by the UK, included an asset freeze and a global travel ban for those listed.
“This is the first time the UN has imposed sanctions against human traffickers,” the British Foreign office stated, adding that this was the result of the continuing efforts carried out by the UK since last year.
Of the six men blacklisted, four are of Libyan origin while the others hail from Eritrea. They were named yesterday as Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, commander of Anas Al-Dabbashi Brigade; Musab Abu Grain; Mohammed Keshlaf, commander of the Shuhada Al-Nasr brigade and head of the Petrol Refinery Guard of Zawiya’s refinery; Abdul-Rahman Milad, commander of the Coast Guard in Zawiya and Eritrean traffickers Fitiwi Abdelrazak and Ermias Ghermay.
Libya, a major transit point for African migrants seeking access to Europe since the country descended into chaos following the fall of long term dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, has become a haven for traffickers and slave traders.
In March, Libya issued arrest warrants for over 200 Libyans and foreigners suspected of being involved in smuggling rings. Those in the network allegedly also include members of security services as well as migrant detention camp and embassy officials.
Last month, a government official in charge of the anti-human trafficking file in Nigeria told reporters that more than 100 Nigerian children have been kidnapped in Libya over the past four months.
Those migrants who are not trafficked still face rampant abuse, as they are forced to pay smugglers extortionate amounts in return for spaces on dinghy boats, in which dozens often drown while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
The Libyan government often intercepts such boats as per the request of European states seeking to stem migrant arrivals, with those on board taken to detention centres where they face torture and rape.