Libyan Embassy in Kenya says it does not support slave trade

Libya ambassador to Kenya Mabruk Daia []

Libyan authorities in Kenya have reacted to reports that some Kenyans have been taken away as slaves.

Through embassy’s Chargé d’ Affaires Mabruk Daia, Libya has called on Kenya and other countries to stop blaming the Libyan government and instead, join hands and tackle the problem.

He said reports by a section of the media especially those from the West has targeted the country unfairly with human trafficking reports.

He said contrary to projections of Libya being a racist and anti-African country, it has played host to over 2 million expatriate workers from African countries working and living there legally and in dignity.

However, Daia acknowledged the presence of organized transnational criminal gangs that run the human trafficking ring aided by the country’s political instability, insecurity in Libya and its long and porous borders.

In an earlier story reported by Jamhuri News with its source credited to the Standard, it was revealed that Libya’s notorious smugglers, Magafe Network have their links deeply rooted in Nairobi’s Eastleigh area.

Five unsuspecting Kenyans found themselves on the end of the stick after their promise for better and well-paying jobs turned to be slave auction in Libya’s desert.

The African immigrants are sold off as slaves for as little as Sh40, 000 (USD$400)

However, the Libya Embassy head in Kenya said they are conducting investigations into the matter to establish if they are true or not and will prosecute those behind them.

“The Libyan people and government stand firmly against such inhuman practices which are incompatible with our values and laws. Any practices recorded against migrants are nothing more than individual practices by criminals,” he told the Standard.

The diplomat added that Libyan government needs support from the international community to completely take charge of every part of its country including its waters which have been a conduit of immigrants trying to sail away to Europe.

“Despite Libya’s political, economic and security conditions, it bears the brunt of rescuing migrants in its territorial waters, sheltering them, providing health care and essential needs, and deporting them at its own expense with very limited support from the international community.”

Libya has been heavily criticized for taking no action despite rife reports of human trafficking. Several countries have recalled their envoys from the country dogged by economic, security and political crisis.

Kenyans seeking to travel to Libya are not granted visas by the Libyan Embassy, he said.

They are subjected to thorough vetting by Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry before being granted an approval letter. This makes cushions them from such eventualities where they end up being sold off as slaves.

“As a result of this strict requirement, many Kenyans seeking visas to Libya have been turned away in order to minimise risks of them joining or falling victim to criminal groups or being trafficked across the Mediterranean to Europe.”