The United Nations children’s agency,UNICEF, says women and children making the dangerous journey to Europe to flee poverty and conflicts in Africa are being beaten, raped and starved in “living hellholes” in Libya.
In its latest report on Tuesday, UNICEF said there were a quarter of a million migrants in Libya as of last September, most of whom languish in unsanitary, disease-ridden detention centres that looked like forced labour camps and make-shift prisons.
And in interviews with more than 100 women and children, nearly Half said they had been raped or abused several times during their journey.
It also said armed groups have taken effective control of official detention centres for migrants amid the political chaos that now reigns in Libya.
The Mediterranean Sea between Libya and Italy has become the main crossing point for asylum seekers and economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe.