France is calling on the United Nations Security Council to impose targeted sanctions on human traffickers operating in Libya.
Meanwhile, several members of the 15-member Security Council expressed their horror at the video during a meeting on November 28, requested by France, to discuss human trafficking in Libya. The footage broadcast earlier this month by CNN showed what it said was an auction of men to Libyan buyers as farmhands and sold for $400 each.
French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said the council should use sanctions to help stamp out trafficking in Libya.
“France will propose to assist the sanctions committee… in identifying responsible individuals and entities for trafficking through Libyan territory,” Delattre told the council. “We count upon support of the members of the council to make headway to that end.”
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the Security Council is able to impose a global asset freeze and travel ban on “individuals and entities involved in or complicit in ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Libya.”
While France can propose names for targeted UN sanctions, it needs to win consensus support within the Security Council’s 15-member Libya sanctions committee.
Some council members expressed support for the possibility of imposing targeted sanctions, while others backed the council first issuing a statement. Diplomats said France, Britain and Sweden were drafting a statement.
“We all have a responsibility to act. This is not the moment to pass the buck,” said Sweden’s Deputy UN Ambassador Carl Skau.
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW) quoted French President Emmanuel Macron as saying that African migrants trapped in Libya must be “evacuated”.
Ahead of the EU-Africa summit, Macron told Burkina Faso students that migrant trafficking was a “crime against humanity”
In a DW interview on November 27, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said until two months ago he did not know the “full extent” of the “outrageous” problem, adding that Europe “will not be silent.”