Libya: Workshop discusses human trafficking from Sirte

North Africa

A number of Libyan officials and activists have attended a workshop held by the Department of Political Science at the University of Sirte, to find solutions to tackle illegal migration from their city into Europe.

In conjunction with the International Day of Migration, the Department of Political Science in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sirte in Libya organised a workshop attended by politicians, activists and academics, which seeks to discuss the issue of illegal migration from the country. Since 2015, this issue has affected Libya negatively, leading to many seeing the country as the main facilitator and hub for illegal immigration. As a result, Libyans are attempting to undo the damage done to the country by trying to find solutions to the issue.

The conference, which was titled “Illegal Immigration: Implications and Ways of Confrontation,” had professors and academics presenting papers discussing various solutions for Libya to undertake in order to stop illegal migration and reverse this phenomenon’s impact on the country.

“The workshop addressed the many reasons for illegal migration and its economic, social, political, security, and religious implications,” said Dr Ashraf Salem, the dean of the Faculty of Economics in the University of Sirte. “We have tried to find solutions to these repercussions and illegal immigration in general, especially as Libya is a transit state from Africa to Europe.”

Participating academics and activists stressed that their country is not the source of illegal immigration, and is, in fact, a victim, rather than an instigator.

“Libya is suffering and is a victim of this phenomenon, and it is not the cause of this problem, as some claim,” said Haitham Ramadhan, the head of the Bridges for Peace Humanitarian Organisation.

In 2015, the country faced a massive influx of migrants from other African countries, who attempted to take advantage of the country’s instability to reach Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. According to an estimate over 700,000 people from Niger, Chad, Sudan and other African countries used Libya as a transit hub into Europe.

While many were able to make it, thousands of migrants remained in Libya, either enslaved by militant groups or detained by the local authorities.

This has resulted in Libya being put in the limelight of what later became known as the “2015 European Migrant Crisis.”

During the following years, the migrant influx decreased as the UN and countries affected by the migrant crisis, such as Italy, became much more involved in attempting to resolve this issue.

With the relative stability that the country is finally seeing, the Libyan authorities must make further attempts to undo the damage that their country faced not only due to the conflict, which began in 2011, but also by the migrant influx, which has affected the country negatively.