Libya denies allegations of slave trade; claims what appears ‘human trafficking’ is actually ‘human smuggling’

  • December 1, 2017

The Embassy of the State of Libya held a press conference to clear the air regarding allegations of slave trade in the country.

The meeting was held amidst a media and political campaign against Libya with unsubstantiated allegations of human trafficking on its territory following a CNN press investigation and subsequent political statements.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Khalid I.A. Azwai, Charge D’ Affairs, Libya Embassy in India. A statement was released which stated that what appeared in the investigative report broadcasted by CNN and appeared to be a process of buying and selling in the form of bidding as part of human trafficking is actually human smuggling, and the bargaining was over transportation costs, which involves international cross-border gangs. This is proven by the small amount shown in the video, which does not exceed one month’s salary for any worker in the occupations carried out by the expatriate labour to Libya in a normal and legitimate manner such as grazing sheep, or cleaners or technicians in workshops.

The statement further read that the Embassy of the State of Libya is ‘surprised’ by the media campaign launched by the international media, involving some political officials in a friendly country, who are supposed to be aware of the reality of the migrants’ conditions and the exceptional circumstances that Libya is going through.

Libya reiterates its call for an end to exploitation of suffering African people aspiring for a better life in Europe, by smugglers in countries of origin, transit and destination, and calls for launching an international campaign to curb this phenomenon through an immediate security course that supports the control of Libyan authorities on its borders and the imposition of sovereignty over its entire territory.

In addition, a political course was required to resolve the Libyan crisis, unify the state institutions and end the transitional process that contributed in weakening state control over its territories, which in turn allowed the smuggling gangs to expand their illegal activities.

A long-term plan for investment and development projects in the countries exporting migrants and implementation of the European Union-Africa Tripoli declaration on migration and development on November 23, 2006 was needed, as per the statement.

Mr. Azwai said, “The issue of migrants and their suffering must be removed from political bidding, for Libya and the people of Libya belong to Africa, and has always supported partnership and investment in African countries. It has opened its territory to African brothers and has received more than two million expatriates from African countries who work in various professions and live in Libya legally with dignity and safety. Libya has huge investments of more than $10 billion in African countries, so we do not need lessons in ethics and humanity, but support for its security and judicial institutions and build their capabilities to enable them control Libyan territories and prevent criminal gangs from engaging in illegal activities.

“Finally, we emphasize the depth of the historical relations and ties that untie the Libyan people and their African brothers. We believe that the real and sustainable wealth of people is the human element and that the best way to help the countries exporting emigrants is to develop human capabilities to give them the capacity to produce as an alternative to temporary assistance. As the saying goes, ‘Instead of feeding me a fish, teach me how to fish’.”

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