Torture by Authorities in  [Libya]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Libya]  [other countries]

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2018                     

Great Socialist People's

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya)

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95% of export earnings, about one-quarter of GDP, and 60% of public sector wages.

Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Libya

Libya is a transit and destination country for men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Migrants typically seek employment in Libya as laborers and domestic employees or transit Libya en route to Europe.

In some cases, smuggling debts and illegal status leave migrants vulnerable to coercion, resulting in cases of forced prostitution and forced labor; employers of irregular migrants sometimes withhold payment or travel documents. As in previous years, there were reports that women from sub-Saharan Africa were trafficked to Libya for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  [full country report]


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Libya.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page to see which aspect(s) of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Libya’s “UN-Human” Rights Record Oil money trumps slavery and human rights in UN Election

Tommy Calvert, Jr., Chief of External Operations, American Anti-Slavery Group, January 29, 2003

[accessed 18 February 2011]

Many of you are aware of the plight of southern Sudanese who are enslaved in Sudan. Most of you are probably not aware that some of these slaves end up in Libya and are sold into bondage. The Libyan government has not put a stop to these practices and, with Libya's dismal human rights record, we are hardly surprised.

Not only does Libya have a long record of supporting international terrorism but Libya has also terrorized its own people through torture, persecution of political opposition, suppression of workers rights, and arbitrary prison detainment of innocent people considered a threat to the state.   How can a nation that does not actively prevent the sale of slaves be permitted to chair the UN Commission on Human Rights?


*** ARCHIVES ***

Somali torture survivor reunited with her sons in Niger

Louise Donovan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, Niamey Niger, 11 April 2018

[accessed 15 April 2018]

"When I arrived in Libya, I was walking, nobody had to help me … but look at me now," she says, holding up her badly broken arms in despair, her legs paralyzed.

The 42-year-old is among thousands of refugees and asylum seekers from across Africa who set out on desperate journeys in search of safety, who all too often end up the captives of ruthless human traffickers in Libya.

Held for ransom for months in dire conditions, many are subjected to abuse and torture that marks them for life.

She was given electric shocks and beaten, she says. “They always tied my hands behind my back, and afterwards, they would leave me outside, tied up in the cold.”

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2018 Edition

[accessed 12 February 2019]


Forced labor, sexual exploitation, abuse in detention facilities, and starvation are widespread among migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, many of whom are beholden to human traffickers. There are an estimated 750,000 to 1 million migrants in the country.

Libya lacks comprehensive laws criminalizing human trafficking, and the authorities have been either incapable of enforcing existing bans or complicit in trafficking activity. Traffickers have taken advantage of civil unrest to establish enterprises in which refugees and migrants are loaded into overcrowded boats that are then abandoned in the Mediterranean Sea, where passengers hope to be rescued and taken to Europe. The voyages often result in fatalities.

A series of reports by foreign media during 2017 exposed a growing practice in which detained migrants are sold as slaves or rented out to perform forced labor. The reports linked the trend to an increased backlog of migrants in the country as European governments work with local authorities and militias to reduce sea crossings.

2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 26 March 2019]

[accessed 27 June 2019]


Private employers sometimes used detained migrants from prisons and detention centers as forced labor on farms or construction sites; when the work was completed or the employers no longer required the migrants’ labor, employers returned them to detention facilities.

Armed groups prevented foreign health-care workers from departing conflict areas such as Benghazi and compelled these workers to perform unpaid work in dangerous conditions.

Migrants in Libya risk rape and torture before reaching Mediterranean

Louisa Loveluck, The Telegraph, Cairo, 11 May 2015

[accessed 19 May 2015]

Many would-be migrants are handed over to criminal groups when they enter Libya, according to the report by Amnesty International, published as the European Union prepares to secure a UN mandate for armed action in the country’s territorial waters.

The smugglers or criminal groups sometimes hold their charges for ransom, extracting payment through torture, the report says. Those who are unable to pay are often held as slaves.

A 17-year-old boy from Ivory Coast is quoted as saying, when he told his captor that he had no family members left alive to pay a ransom, the beatings intensified and he was told: “You will join them in death if you don’t pay.”

State Department Reports on the Use of Child Soldiers

Victoria Garcia, Center for Defense Information CDI, April 14, 2004


[accessed 18 February 2011]

[scroll down]

LIBYA - Despite the Penal Code's prohibition on slavery, citizens have been implicated in the purchase of Sudanese slaves, mainly southern Sudanese women and children, who were captured by Sudanese government troops in the ongoing civil war in Sudan.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 18 February 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Women were trafficked through the country from Africa to Central Europe. It was also considered a destination country for victims from Africa and Asia trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation. Moroccan women reportedly were trafficked to the capital to work as prostitutes. The government engaged in joint collaborations with other affected countries to combat human trafficking.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 June 2003

[accessed 18 February 2011]

[43] The Committee is concerned about reports of trafficking of children to the State party for the purposes of prostitution and slavery.  The Committee is concerned that there is a lack of information and awareness of the trafficking and prostitution of children.

The Protection Project - Libya

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

[accessed 13 February 2019]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - Libya’s location on the southern Mediterranean coast makes it an ideal transit country for traffickers or smugglers on their way to Europe. Libya’s long and unpoliced desert borders allow people from African countries to be brought into the country undetected,  and Libya’s 2,000-kilometer northern coastal border allows traffickers direct sea access to Europe.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Libya",, [accessed <date>]



Torture by Authorities in  [Libya]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Libya]  [other countries]