Unprecedented UN sanctions slapped on 'millionaire migrant traffickers'
10 June, 2018, 05:50
"Today's sanctions send a strong message that the worldwide community is united in seeking accountability for perpetrators of human trafficking and smuggling".
Sanctions imposed by the United Nations on six individuals involved in smuggling migrants and refugees are being lauded as a landmark move sending a powerful message to the lawless country's criminal networks.
- Abd Al Rahman Al-Milad, described by the sanctions committee as head of the regional Coast Guard unit in Zawiya "that is consistently linked with violence against migrants and other human smugglers".
The sanctions, which include and freeze on assets and a travel ban, will take effect immediately.
The Netherlands Mission said its aim is "to destroy the business model of human trafficking networks and tackle the appalling human rights situation of migrants that were sold as slaves on the markets of Libya".
The proposal came after a video appearing to show Africans sold as slaves in Libya sparked global outrage past year and put the spotlight on the lawless nation where thousands of migrants are held, tortured, and killed, according to the United Nations.
"Today's sanctions send a strong message that the global community is united in seeking accountability for perpetrators of human trafficking and smuggling", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haleysaid in a statement.
But the Aegean isn't the only route for refugees - the central and eastern Mediterranean routes leading to Italy were still somewhat accessible (and horribly risky), which is why the European Union entered into a shady agreement with Libyan militia, paying them to prevent migrants and refugees from crossing at times deadly waters and locking them up in detention centers instead. The country descended into lawlessness in the wake of the overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with rival governments claiming power, backed by rival militias.
There were an estimated 400,000 to 700,000 migrants in more than 40 detention camps across Libya as of December, with more than 3,100 deaths recorded by the International Organization of Migration. It complements other United Kingdom initiatives to tackle criminal activity and protect vulnerable individuals in Libya, including capacity-building work with the Libyan law enforcement authorities and judiciary, £5 million for humanitarian support to migrants in-country, and a further 3 million Euros to the EU Trust Fund for North Africa, which includes funding in Libya. Islamic State militants also gained a foothold there.