Tens of thousands of migrants have endured torture, sexual violence and extortion at the hands of guards in detention centers in Libya, a major hub for migrants fleeing poverty and wars in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe

Osman Touré was crying from the pain of repeated beatings and torture as he dialed his brother’s cellphone number.

“I’m in prison in Libya,” Touré said in that August 2017 call. “They will kill me if you don’t pay 2,500 dinars in 24 hours.”

Within days, Touré’s family transferred the roughly $550 demanded to secure his freedom from a government detention center in Libya. But Touré was not let go — instead, he was sold to a trafficker and kept enslaved for four more years.

Touré is among tens of thousands of migrants who have endured torture, sexual violence and extortion at the hands of guards in detention centers in Libya, a major hub for migrants fleeing poverty and wars in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe, the AP reports.

The 25-year-old Guinean, along with two dozen other migrants, spoke to The Associated Press aboard the Geo Barents, a rescue vessel operated by the medical aid group Doctors without Borders in the Mediterranean off Libya. Most had been held in trafficking warehouses and government detention centers in western Libya over the past four years.

 

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