Rape, torture and slave labour are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.
The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.
Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering.
158 testimonies, of 31 women and 127 men, gathered by Oxfam and MEDU in Sicily, paint a shocking picture of the conditions they endured in Libya:
All but one woman said they had suffered from sexual violence
74% of the refugees and other migrants said they had witnessed the murder and /or torture of a travelling companion
84% said they had suffered inhuman or degrading treatment, extreme violence or torture in Libya
80% said they had been regularly denied food and water during their stay in Libya
70% said they had been tied up