Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey on Wednesday, admitted that Ghanaians were involved in trafficking fellow Ghanaians in Libya.
She told Parliament about how some Ghanaians are involved in the trafficking and exploitation of other Ghanaians through the setting up of camps along the routes across the desert where they exploit and traffic their fellow Ghanaians.
“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 who are mostly Ghanaians have set up camps and or ghettos along the routes, which they operate in collaboration with their partners in Ghana. Per their modus operandi, when a migrant is handed over to them, he will be made to call his family back home in Ghana. His family will then be directed to contact the agent and or partner of the ghetto leader to settle the indebtedness, after which the migrant is released to continue the journey to the next town”, She narrated.
Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey added “When there is a delay in the settlement of the migrant’s debt, the migrant is tortured and the abusive act video recorded and sent home to his family. However, in the event that a migrant is unable to settle his or her 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 Libyan nationals”.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said the situation was uncovered when a five-member team that was constituted with the membership from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of the Interior, the Research Depart and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) visited Libya to ascertain the facts on the ground and to establish the extent of the involvement of Ghanaians in the alleged slave trade, whether as victims or perpetrators.
There are eighteen thousand (18,000) Ghanaians estimated to be living in Libya with a sizeable number of them legally resident with some having lived in the North African country for more than two decades.