UNICEF’s Libya Country Office commissioned a needs assessment survey in 2016.
- Three quarters of the migrant children interviewed said they had experienced violence, harassment or aggression at the hands of adults.
- Nearly half the women interviewed reported suffering sexual violence or abuse during the journey.
- Most children and women indicated that they had to rely on smugglers leaving many in debt under ‘pay as you go’ arrangements and vulnerable to abuse, abduction and trafficking.
- Most of the children reported verbal or emotional abuse, while about half had suffered beating or other physical abuse. Girls reported a higher incidence of abuse than boys.
- Several migrant children also said they did not have access to adequate food while on the way to Libya.
- Women held in detention centres in western Libya, accessed by UNICEF, reported harsh conditions such as poor nutrition and sanitation, significant overcrowding and a lack of access to health care and legal assistance
- Most of the children and women said they had expected to spend extended periods working in Libya to pay for the next leg of the journey – either back to their home countries or to destinations in Europe.
- Although most of the married women (representing three quarters of those interviewed) brought at least one child with them, more children were left behind.