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Libya issues 200 arrest warrants for human traffickers

African migrants are being sold as slaves in Libya [PapillonBelier/Twitter]

Libya has issued arrest warrants for over 200 Libyans and foreigners suspected of being involved in smuggling rings, according to the attorney general’s office today.

“We have 205 arrest warrants for people [involved in] organising immigration operations, human trafficking, [cases] of torture, murder and rape,” the Director of the Attorney General’s Investigations Office, Seddik Al-Sour, confirmed.

Those in the ring are alleged to also include members of security services, migrant detention camp and embassy officials, Sour added.

Libya has become the main transit point for sub-Saharan migrants attempting to reach Europe since the country descended into chaos following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

Read: 16,000 migrants repatriated from Libya since January, confirms EU

As well as facing death during the treacherous journey to Europe, many migrants have also been tortured and raped in detention camps while others have been sold in slave markets.

The investigations into the smuggling networks were carried out in coordination with the Italian prosecutor’s office, according to Al-Sour.

In December last year, Rome and Tripoli agreed on a joint unit to combat smugglers and human traffickers linked to sectors in Libya and Italy including intelligence, coastguard and justice.

According to the attorney’s office, a direct link had been established between smugglers and Daesh members who benefit from trafficking networks in order to move from one country to another.

Investigations into the slave markets where migrants were auctioned off last year are still ongoing, Al-Sour added, confirming that traffickers do “sell” migrants to each other but not as slaves.

Read more: UAE and Saudi money ‘kills Libyans and Yemenis,’ says Mufti

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