Unprecedented UN sanctions slapped on 'millionaire migrant traff

Migrants being sold as slaves

Unprecedented UN sanctions slapped on 'millionaire migrant traffickers'

This is the first time human traffickers have been placed on an worldwide sanctions list, with the decision being prompted by reports late past year of open slave markets in the country, where trapped migrants were sold for around $200.

The UN Security Council sanctioned six people on Thursday for involvement in human trafficking, a year after CNN footage showing smugglers in Libya auctioning migrants off as slaves sparked worldwide outrage.

According to the BBC, "the sanctions - a global travel ban and an assets freeze - were the result of an internationally-backed Dutch proposal".

These sanctions directly target six individuals who are complicit in committing serious human rights abuses against migrants, including women and children.

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At the end of 2017, U.S. network CNN aired footage of Africans sold as slaves in Libya, sparking outrage from political leaders and street protests in African and European capitals.

African migrants captured in Libya endure horrific treatment, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced labor, extortion and unlawful killings, while some others were sold as slaves, according to United Nations migration agency and human rights watchdogs.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N Nikki Haley said "Today's sanctions send a strong message that the global community is united in seeking accountability for perpetrators of human trafficking and smuggling".

Libya emerged as a major conduit for African migrants hoping to reach Europe after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed the country's longtime dicatator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and the country slid into chaos, with rival governments and parliaments based in the western and eastern regions, each backed by different militias and tribes.

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Many migrants are trapped in detention centres and beaten by traffickers.

When the Security Council first mulled sanctions, Russian Federation asked for additional information "to better understand the value of the said proposal, how efficient it might be if approved", according to a letter obtained by AFP.

Smugglers have taken advantage of insecurity in Libya to move hundreds of thousands of migrants by sea to Europe.

Officials claimed that the trafficking syndicate had security service officials, leaders of migrant detention camps, and embassy officials from African countries based in Libya.

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-Fitiwi Abdelrazak, described by the committee as leader "of a transnational network responsible for trafficking and smuggling tens of thousands of migrants, mainly from the Horn of Africa to the coast of Libya and onwards to destination countries in Europe and the United States". Others in the group have been accused of having links to the Islamic State or selling migrants into sexual slavery.

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