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Nigerian and Somalian children face dire situations in Libya

Nigerian and Somalian children face dire situations in Libya

Posted March. 02, 2017 07:12,   

Updated March. 02, 2017 07:20


A 15-year-old boy was heading towards Libya from Nigeria to escape the Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram. On a broker's recommendation who said he can go to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea and get a job and be able to send money to his family. He crossed the Sahara Desert. A teenager who went along with him died in the desert. When he finally arrived in Libya, he was arrested on charges of illegal entry and has been staying at a detention center for the seventh month.

This is an excerpt from the report on the state of Libyan refugees' rights released Tuesday by UNICEF. According to the report, children in African states including Nigeria and Somalia, where armed forces are rampant, flock to Libya, an interim place before arriving Europe, in search for new life, only to fall into a living hell. Among 250,000 refugees who came to Libya, 23,000 were children and most of them came there without their parents.

UNICEF said that children and women refugees whom the organization met in 34 detention centers suffered various harassments while coming to Libya. Some sexual criminals forced teenager girls to take contraceptive bills and raped them occasionally.

The detention center had a very poor environment as refugees called it a chicken cage. According to refugees, food and water are not properly provided while they were maltreated all the time. A nine-year-old Nigerian girl who was arrested in Libya said, "There's no food or water. I am beaten almost everyday."

Nigerian criminal organizations target females, enticing them that they would be helped go to Europe where the girls have to get a job and pay back 250 euros. But once they arrive in Libya, the malicious organizations abuse the girls through human trafficking. Once refugees arrive in Europe, their debt balloons to 50,000-70,000 euros and they are sold to Europe as prostitutes in order to repay debt.

Dong-Joo Cho djc@donga.com