Ivory Coast, IOM repatriate over 200 from Libya amid slavery claims

It comes amid reports that African migrants, trying to make their way to Europe, are being sold as slaves in the North African country.

FILE: Reports of African migrants in Libya being sold as slaves have made headlines around the world. Picture: @UNmigration/Twitter

ABIDJAN - The government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have repatriated more than 200 vulnerable citizens from Libya.

It comes amid reports that African migrants, trying to make their way to Europe, are being sold as slaves in the North African country.

“To work, to work and a better life.”

With two small children in tow, 35-year-old Adelie, is one of the most vulnerable migrants being processed upon arrival in Abidjan.

She’s one of the scores of people who’d looked to make a life for themselves on the other side of the Mediterranean and is disappointed to be coming home under these circumstances.

“I’m happy to be more secure, but this is not the way I wanted to return home.”

WATCH: Migrants being sold as slaves in Libya

Adelie clutches her one-year-old daughter as she explains she was separated from her husband when they were attacked by rebels.

“They attacked us… we walked several kilometres to find refuge and once in town we handed ourselves to the authorities in order to find safety, that’s where I was separated from my husband. We don’t know anymore.”

The IOM says young African men fleeing to the continent are frequently caught in trafficking networks and sold for labour in Libya.

It estimates at least 20,000 migrants are being detained in that country, which is the main gateway to Europe.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)