Post-revolt Libya: a hub for people smuggling

Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) – Libya has long been a transit country for African migrants, but their movement has intensified since Moamer Kadhafi’s fall as militias have turned to the lucrative business of people smuggling.

Why Libya?

The shores of Libya are only about 300 kilometres (185 miles) from Lampedusa, the southernmost island of Italy now sheltering thousands of illegal migrants.

The North African country has 1,770 kilometres of coastline and 5,000 kilometres of porous land borders in mostly arid areas that are sparsely populated.

In the Kadhafi era, the Libyan authorities were unable to fully control their frontiers, with hundreds of people crossing them daily from sub-Saharan Africa via Sudan, Niger and Chad.

The main source of the illegal migrants is northern Niger, a stronghold of trafficking networks…