News24

Libya dismantles human traffic network

2012-03-15 22:14

Benghazi - Libyan security forces said on Thursday they had dismantled a human trafficking network smuggling illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Somalia.

Hussein al-Sahli, who headed the investigation, said five members of the network were arrested at a farm on the outskirts of the eastern city of Benghazi, where 52 people were being held captive.

"The network was bringing illegal immigrants across the Egyptian-Libyan border with the help of Libyan drivers and the owner of the farm," he said.

The gang lured its victims with promises of safe passage and employment opportunities in the North African nation only to kidnap them in the hope of obtaining ransom payments from their relatives, he added.

The ring leader, a Bangladeshi, confessed to bringing more than 200 illegal immigrants from his country in the past three months.

Sahli said the Libyan farmer would pay the smugglers to use the Somalis as slaves.

For years, Libya has been a destination and a transit country to European shores for hundreds of thousands of African immigrants.