IOM: Over 70 Percent of Migrants Forced Into ‘Modern Slavery’
Almost three quarters of migrants who travel to Europe via the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa face “exploitation and practices which may amount to human trafficking,” according to a survey by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The group said the practices amounting to “modern-day slavery” include forced labor, imprisonment, kidnapping and physical and sexual abuse, with most of the reported incidents taking place in Libya.
According to the surveys, 49 percent of the 9,000 respondents reported having been held in a location against their will for ransom. Half of the people surveyed said they had been forced to work without pay, often under the threat of physical harm.
Migrants traveling via the Central Mediterranean route are between seven and 10 times more vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking than those traveling from Turkey to Europe via the Eastern Mediterranean route. Additionally, the longer a migrant is in transit to Europe, the more likely they will fall prey to exploitation or trafficking.
“What these surveys show is that human trafficking networks are becoming brutal and efficient at exploiting and making profit from the vulnerability of migrants,” Simona Moscarelli, an IOM anti-trafficking expert, told the Guardian.
Egypt Passes New Law to Combat Human Trafficking
Egypt passed a law Monday to combat the influx of illegal migration to Europe and to crack down on human traffickers, reported Reuters.
The new legislation imposes fines between $5,600 and $22,500 (EGP 50,000 and 200,000) or prison terms to anyone found guilty of smuggling or attempting to smuggle migrants in addition to those who act as mediators in the process.
Anyone who shelters trafficked migrants or helps facilitate their journey also faces prison sentences.
Naela Gabr, head of the National Coordinating Committee on Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration, told Reuters: “This is the first law on smuggling of migrants in the Middle East. It includes a definition of smuggling of migrants. We were lacking such a definition in our law and accordingly the smugglers used to escape … and there are the sanctions that could reach up to 25 years in prison.”
MSF Calls on France to Continue Admitting Migrants to Dunkirk Camp
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has called on the French government to halt the eviction of current residents and continue admitting new arrivals to “La Liniere” refugee camp located outside Dunkirk in northern France.
In a letter obtained by the humanitarian organization, local authorities instructed the security company that manages La Liniere to ban new arrivals, including “minors, families, pregnant women, the elderly and people in situations of difficulty.”
MSF denounced the proposal to reduce the camp population to 300 people by the end of the year, arguing that local authorities probably plan to dismantle it by early 2017.
“Blocking new arrivals from accessing the camp at Grande-Synthe is all the more baffling given the impending dismantling of the Calais ‘Jungle,’” said Franck Esnee, MSF head of mission in France, in a press release. “This decision has been taken hastily, without thought for the consequences, and without proposing alternative solutions.”
“This policy of systematically destroying existing camps and preventing the construction of new ones will lead nowhere,” said Esnee.
La Liniere camp opened its doors in March 2016 to 1,500 migrants who had been living in a nearby unofficial camp.
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- BBC News: Migrant Crisis: A Syrian’s Struggle to Become German
- The Washington Post: Europe Pressing Harder on Countries to Take Back Deported Migrants
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- UNHCR: U.N. Refugee Chief Says Protecting Mosul Civilians Is Key