Children fleeing from Libya at risk of exploitation

Refugees from Libya arrive at a transit camp in Tunisia.

Hundreds of unaccompanied minors and child migrants separated from their parents following the crisis in Libya are at risk of abuse, exploitation and violence, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

They include girls who were trafficked from West African countries to Libya, to work and study, but who ended up in prostitution.

IOM says over 150 unaccompanied children and minors have been placed under protective custody, although the number of those in need of protection may be higher.

Jemini Pandya from IOM says the children were particularly vulnerable as they seek safety in the camps for the displaced on the Tunisian-Libyan border. 

"Many are boys aged between 15-17 years from countries like Chad , Niger, mali Côte d’Ivoire, Ghan Ethiopia and Sudan. There are also  Somali and Eritrean children have been referred to UNHCR for international protection. All the children come from extremely poor families dependent on subsistence farming or petty business to survive.  They had largely been sent to Libya by their families to provide additional essential income for their families. And mainly worked in odd jobs or worked with families or in the construction industry."

IOM says it was working with other aid agencies including UNICEF to try and reunite the children with their families.

Duration 35″

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