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Tue Dec 31, 2019, 06:31 AM

EU funds for migrants in Libya enrich their abusers instead

Source: Associated Press

EU funds for migrants in Libya enrich their abusers instead

By MAGGIE MICHAEL, LORI HINNANT and RENATA BRITO
December 31, 2019

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) ó When the European Union started funneling millions of euros into Libya to slow the tide of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the money came with EU promises to improve detention centers notorious for abuse and fight human trafficking.

That hasnít happened. Instead, the misery of migrants in Libya has spawned a thriving and highly lucrative web of businesses funded in part by the EU and enabled by the United Nations, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The EU has sent more than 327.9 million euros to Libya, with an additional 41 million approved in early December, largely funneled through UN agencies. The AP found that in a country without a functioning government, huge sums of European money have been diverted to intertwined networks of militiamen, traffickers and coast guard members who exploit migrants. In some cases, UN officials knew militia networks were getting the money, according to internal emails.

The militias torture, extort and otherwise abuse migrants for ransoms in detention centers under the nose of the UN, often in compounds that receive millions in European money, the AP investigation showed. Many migrants also simply disappear from detention centers, sold to traffickers or to other centers.

The same militias conspire with some members of Libyan coast guard units. The coast guard gets training and equipment from Europe to keep migrants away from its shores. But coast guard members return some migrants to the detention centers under deals with militias, the AP found, and receive bribes to let others pass en route to Europe.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/9d9e8d668ae4b73a336a636a86bdf27f

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