“The more contacts in your mobile phone, the more you’re worth’

74ad53b9e2aa8e5b881a15ed9e67ac4c - "The more contacts in your mobile phone, the more you're worth’

In Libya, refugees and migrants tortured. The movies are family members in the homeland in history. ‘A lucrative business’.

“The European Union is complicit in the torture of Sudanese migrants in Libya.’ That says Eva Berghmans, policy coordinator of Amnesty International, on the occasion of new images that the VRT yesterday transmitted. That is to see how family members of Sudanese refugees in history. They get movies sent to their relatives in Libya to be tortured. The message: pay the money and the torture to stop.

The torture and blackmailing is not a new practice. The Libyan militias have “the craft” to be learned from human traffickers in the sinai desert. There were mainly Eritrean, but also Sudanese refugees and migrants, the victim. The Dutch researcher Mirjam van Reisen, it took five years of research and wrote last year’s the book Human trafficking and the trauma in the digital era .

Extra value

“The value of a refugee went up as he has in his phone contacts,” says Van Reisen. “That cell phone was a good indication of what you can afford. You have an uncle in Canada, or your father is in Israel? Then you become an extra in history.’
The Egyptian government took stringent anti-terrorist measures, and the practice largely ceased. But they shifted to Sudan and especially to Libya. Of Travel: ‘what is Surprising is not that, because it is of course a lucrative business.’

Also Amnesty suggested practices for some time to the jaw. “And that’s why we are so angry with the European Union,” says Berghmans. “Despite our reports, Europe continues to be the material, technical and logistic support to Libya. Therefore, we find them complicit. Because the Libyan security forces are involved. The coast guard and the security guard of the detention facilities are guilty of abuses.’

Also Reisen is certainly of. “You see the patterns return. From our research, it was clear that the Eritrean and Sudanese regime were involved in the trafficking of human beings.’

But what should the European Union do? The cooperation with Libya completely stop? ‘There should be assistance to Libya, but there must be conditions attached, ” says Berghmans. ‘Why doth the EU, no checks of the detentiekampen? In addition, should Libya a dignified asylum system on its feet. The country does not single effort.”


Europe has already announced measures. On the European-African Summit, at the end of last year, it was decided to express vulnerable people in Libya. Europe has last year’s 20,000 voluntary terugkeeroperaties help run, and at the end of February, another 15,000 people to return from Libya.

Also in Libya wants Europe to do more to the people on the flight, better to protect. At the Summit, it was agreed that African countries soldiers to the detention centres to check. The EU wants to make money. But European diplomats were immediately understood to mean that the ‘military’ mission is not one-two-three on the legs.

According to Van Reisen, Europe should be much more bet on the system behind the human trafficking. ‘That system, in which the regimes are involved, must be mapped. And then harshly dealt with.’

Leave a Comment