Political instability in Libya provides the backdrop to human trafficking in cities across Libya


Libya is at the core of human trafficking activity in Africa. The majority of people are trafficked from West & East Africa, Syria and Bangladesh.


The current political situation in Libya has enabled armed gangs and militia to control human trafficking activity. Some detention centres are hotbeds of abuse. People are being temporarily sold into forced labour, prostitution and domestic servitude then returned to the centres to be exploited again.

Sometimes guards facilitate the exploitation.

Members of the diaspora from source countries are frequently involved in the abuse.

Identified trafficking hotspots in Libya


People often believe they know the risks of embarking on the journey to Libya but do not realise they will be:

  • Forced into prostitution and receive no payment
  • Sold into forced labour
  • Exploited in Libya for months before being put onto unsafe boats bound for Europe
  • Detained and tortured until a ransom is paid
  • Potentially left to die in the Sahara desert
  • Subjected to continuous physical and sexual abuse throughout their journey


In Europe

Europe is not the ‘paradise’ that some believe. Once there, control is achieved through:

  • Physical, emotional and sexual abuse
  • Confiscation of identity documents and restriction of movement
  • Debt bondage
  • Threats of violence to family members
  • Juju oaths
  • Unfounded threats of being deported by immigration agencies

Often, individuals reaching Europe send false stories of ‘paradise’ back to families and friends. They are forced to do this through the control methods listed above.


If you see or hear anything suspicious, it is essential that you report it the relevant authorities. You can also share the information with us too via the STOP APP or the website form. All information is important and helps to build a comprehensive, global picture on human trafficking. 

UN Refugee Agency

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

+(218) 919-897-936

[email protected]



For further information, contact our Centre for Intelligence Led Prevention

[email protected]


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