Migrants in Libya Being Forced to Barter Sex for Clean Water and Food: Amnesty International

An Amnesty International report has revealed inhuman ordeals that migrants in Libya are being subjected to in refugee camps. The shocking report says that sometimes migrant women are told, "If you want clean water, then you have to sleep with me".

Amnesty International released a report on July 15, which highlights the plight of those trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya. The 50-page report describes the sorrow and misery of the migrants in Libyan camps who are subjected to sexual violence.

Decade-Long Violations Against Refugees

The report focuses on migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean and who disembarked in Libya in 2020 and 2021. It says that the violations committed against these men, women and children are horrific.

It revealed how the decade-long violations against refugees and migrants continued unabated in Libyan detention centers during the first six months of 2021 despite repeated promises to address them. According to Reuters, the report also reveals worsening conditions in the camps despite being recently placed under the control of the Libyan interior ministry.

Women Forced to Barter Sex

Migrants are being subjected to sexual violence at the hands of guards, including being forced to sex in exchange of clean water, food and access to sanitation. Camp guards say, "maybe you want fresh water and beds ... let me have sex with you, so I can free you," a woman told Amnesty. Several women said guards raped or coerced women into sex in exchange for their release or clean water.

Men Forced to Wear Only Underwear in an Attempt to Humiliate Them

The findings come from interviews with 53 refugees and migrants, aged between 14 and 50, from countries such as Nigeria, Somalia and Syria. Some pregnant women inside the camps told Amnesty they had been repeatedly raped by guards, while men said they were forced to wear only underwear in an attempt to humiliate them. Others, including boys, described being groped, prodded and violated.

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Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International says: "This horrifying report sheds new light on the suffering of people intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, where they are immediately funnelled into arbitrary detention and systematically subjected to torture, sexual violence, forced labour and other exploitation with total impunity." She also accused the Libyan authorities of supporting the suspects by rewarding them with positions of power and higher ranks.

Amnesty Slams Libya and Europe

According to the website of Amnesty International, the report also highlights the ongoing complicity of European states that have shamefully continued to enable and assist Libyan coastguards in capturing people at sea and forcibly returning them to the hellscape of detention in Libya, despite knowing full well the horrors they will endure. It has also asked European states to suspend cooperation on migration and border control with Libya.