Credits: UN

  Migrants in Libya face the greatest danger in years of being trafficked, exploited or enslaved by armed groups and criminal gangs - which are becoming stronger - as Europe clamps down on migration, the United Nations and analysts said on Tuesday.  

Rising numbers of migrants trapped in Libya are prey to smugglers and traffickers and sold for labour, said the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM), amid a security vacuum created by the 2011 toppling of leader Muammar Gaddafi. Of the more than 650,000 migrants in Libya, at least 9,000 are in detention centres - a number that has doubled in recent months due to increased coastguard returns - while the IOM estimates that thousands more are at the mercy of smugglers.

"Smuggling networks are becoming more organised, stronger," IOM's Libya head Othman Belbeisi told reporters in London. "More and more we are seeing migrants being sold from one smuggler to another ... being contracted for work but not being paid."

Read more: AllAfrica