U.N. Security Council sanctions accused Libyan human traffickers

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions yesterday on six human traffickers and smugglers operating through Libya

The proposal came after a video appearing to show Africans sold as slaves in Libya sparked global outrage previous year and put the spotlight on the lawless nation where thousands of migrants are held, tortured, and killed, according to the United Nations.

The process moved ahead when Russian Federation "lifted its hold placed on the Dutch proposal" to include the six people on the sanctions blacklist, a diplomat said, adding that the sanctions take effect immediately.

In recent years, Libya has emerged as a major route for migrants hoping to make the trek to Europe.

"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 Haley said in a statement.

Libya descended into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 led to the overthrow and killing of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, with two competing governments backed by militias scrambling for control of the oil-producing country. This is the first time the United Nations has used sanctions against people traffickers, and builds on the work initiated by the UK in December 2017 - following reports of slave auctions in Libya in December 2017 - to secure a strong Security Council condemnation of those involved in people trafficking.

Officials claimed that the trafficking syndicate had security service officials, leaders of migrant detention camps, and embassy officials from African countries based in Libya.

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- 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".

As of now, there is no move to sanction European Union countries for their deal with Libyan armed groups, with the policy of containment gaining popularity among right-wing governments in countries like Hungary, Italy, and Austria.

The black-listed culprits committed serious human rights abuses against migrants, including women and children.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry's office said in a statement Friday that the sanctions would help improve the lives of refugees and migrants by preventing them from making the "dangerous journey" across the Mediterranean. It said he has been described, including in several criminal investigations, "as one of the top-level actors responsible for the exploitation and abuse of a large number of migrants in Libya".

There is also an established link between the said smugglers syndicate and Islamic State group jihadists.

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