General News of Thursday, 8 March 2018
A five-member team from the Foreign Affairs Ministry says some Ghanaians have set up camps along routes across the Libyan desert where they exploit and traffic Ghanaians.
The fact-finding team said during the course of the journey, those who were unable to afford transport cost from one point to the other were handed over to ‘Ghetto leaders’.
The Ghetto Leaders mostly Ghanaians set up camps along the routes which they operate in collaboration with their partners in Ghana.
Answering questions in Parliament Wednesday on the status of Ghanaians in Libya, Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said when a migrant is handed to a ghetto leader, the migrant is directed to call family members back home in Ghana to pay for the indebtedness through an agent/partner.
If the money is paid the migrant is released to continue the journey to the next town.
Any delay by the family means the migrant will be tortured and the abusive video is recorded and sent to the family.
In the event the migrant is unable to settle the indebtedness, he or she is sent to Ben Wahlid, another city in Southern Libya and offered for sale to those in need of cheap labour.
This is done with the collaboration of some Libyans, the Minister said.
Findings by 5-member team
According to Mrs Ayorkor Botchwey, while in Libya, the team interviewed inmates in six detention camps in various parts of Tripoli.
The camps visited were in Tarek Sikr, Tarek Matar, Janzour and Benghashir while two other inmates were transported out of their camps due to security reasons on the advice of the Libyan authorities.
In all, 72 Ghanaians had been arrested and detained for various offences including entering Libya illegally, possession of fake documents including fake Ghanaian passport, attempting to embark on the perilous voyage across the Mediterranean to Europe or arrested on the high seas.
She said one of those arrested said he wanted to continue the journey to Europe, but another said he wanted to stay behind to work and save enough before returning to Ghana.
However, the majority of them indicated their willingness to return to Ghana as soon as possible.
Regardless of the feet dragging by the two persons, the team issued travel certificates to them with Ghana’s mission in Valletta liaising with the International Migration Organisation (IOM) Office in Tripoli to ensure their return to Ghana.
Subsequently, the IOM informed the Foreign Affairs Ministry of an upcoming evacuation and voluntary return of some 151 persons from Libya via flight.
The Minister has accordingly informed NADMO and Immigration Service about the exercise.