Libyan authorities have come under fire, after disturbing footage emerged showing the inhumane treatment of trapped African refugees by Libyan coastguards.
The footage is part of a new documentary, entitled, “Ross Kemp: Libya’s Migrant Hell,” which seeks to expose the plight of thousands of asylum seekers held in Libyan detention camps.
These refugees, with the majority coming from sub-Saharan Africa, are usually detained, tortured, raped, and sold like slaves in to manual labor and prostitution, reports the Independent.
“I gave…birth to my baby in a toilet; I lost her, and now I’m dying as well,” a woman painfully narrated to filmmakers of her experience of being forced to lie on a dirty floor — unable to walk — months after she gave birth.
In another detention center near Tripoli, Libya’s capital, male refugees tell Ross Kemp, the producer of the film, how Libyan guards beat them like animals and called them “slaves.”
Refugees Sold Like Commodities
While some of these detention camps are run by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), many more are controlled by Libyan militia and armed groups, whose main interest is to make money from desperate migrants by selling them as slaves or forcing them in to prostitution.
According to Kemp, refugees were traded like commodities in various detention camps along the Libyan coast.
He further reveals how Libyan coastguards took great pleasure in beating refugees and then leaving them in the scorching sun for hours without food and water.
They then rounded them up and locked them in overcrowded detention camps, where they were sold to people smugglers who again attempted to traffic them to Europe through the Mediterranean.
Still, Kemp doesn’t believe returning the migrants back to their homelands will stop them from attempting to cross the sea in to Europe,“These people are being treated like commodities. Their own countries don’t want them, Libya certainly doesn’t want them, and Europe doesn’t want them – so what happens to them?” asks Kemp.
Overwhelmed Security Force
According to Jalal Othman, GNA director of Communications, authorities in Libya are taking the allegations of inhumane treatment of refugees “very seriously” and are going to examine the film closely while maintaining cooperation with the European Union.
He, however, revealed that the Libyan judicial and law-enforcement agencies are currently overwhelmed by the refugee crisis due to the ongoing Libyan Civil War, which started in 2011.
Othman promised that the necessary action will be taken against anyone who breaks the law.