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Country Profile

Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants

Libya does not have any National Action Plan to combat trafficking of human beings (TIP). 

However, there is an interest from the Government and IOM Libya are currently seeking to support the government to develop an Anti-Trafficking National Action Plan.

Related Action Plans

  • No other Action Plan is available as regards to anti trafficking and smuggling. However, there are Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response in Libya, developed by the GBV sub-sector and endorsed by the relevant governmental authorities.

These SOPs were developed to support a consistent understanding and general approach for the early identification, referral and assistance to vulnerable migrants, IDPs, returnees, vulnerable host community members and refugees in Libya. The SOPs provide guidance on procedures, roles and responsibilities of various service providers for individual assistance and referral for services.

Institutional Framework

National Structures Responsible for Identifying Traffickers and Victims of Trafficking (VOT)

The Libyan government, through its law enforcement agencies, is primarily responsible in identifying the traffickers in the field. However, civil society organizations, INGOs, NGOs, and UN organizations such as IOM, UNHCR and OHCHR are the ones identifying traffickers and VOTs in the field.

National Structures Responsible for Border Management

In Libya, border management (BM) and control are handled by the following agencies under the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

  • The General Administration for the Security of Border Crossing Points (GASBCP): The GASBCP is an administration within the General Directorate of Border Security (DBS) of the Ministry of Interior. Their main task is to oversee the security and protection of air, land and sea entry points. The GASBCP has the responsibility for 25 BCPs (eight Sea BCPs, eight Land BCPs and nine Air BCPs), and each of them is under the coordination of a Director. The Director acts as a Chairman over the BCP and channels cases towards the responsible authority.

  • General Administration for Passport, Nationality and Foreign Affairs Department (PNFAD): has indirect links to Border Management (BM) and is an independent body, but reports to the Ministry of Interior.

  • The General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS): is responsible for countering illegal activities, including irregular migration and trafficking of human beings. Moreover, GACS is also responsible for controlling violations of any administrative regulation within the territorial waters and along the coast lines.

National Structures Addressing Smuggling of Migrants

  • The Direction for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) was established in 2012 and is under the Ministry of Interior. Its primary role/overall objective is to combat illegal migrations through the assistance of IOM and Foreign Embassies. Theoretically, the DCIM has an Investigation Office which gathers intelligence on human smugglers and sets up operations leading to the opening of criminal cases and the arrest of human traffickers and migrant smugglers. However, due to the present situation, its main activity consists of the detention of illegal migrants and the administration of the relevant DCs.

  • The General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS) is a law enforcement entity within the structure of the Ministry of Interior and headed by a Director General. The GACS has law enforcement powers, thus it oversees countering any illegal activities in its area of responsibility, including irregular migration and trafficking of human beings. In addition, the GACS Director is responsible for the “Joint Operational Room for Combatting Illegal Immigration and Smuggling”.

  • The Libyan Coast Guard and Port Security (LCGPS) is part of the Libyan Navy (under the Ministry of Defence). It is responsible for exercising the sovereignty and law enforcement capability of the Libyan State, within their waters, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, national law, as well as agreements and resolutions related to maritime activities. The duties include surveillance of the national waters, controlling and combating any illegal activities at sea (smuggling, illegal migration, pollution, fishing, etc.), Search and Rescue (SAR), as well as relations and cooperation with other national and international agencies. 

National Coordinating Bodies

To date, there is no Coordination committee. However, IOM Libya is supporting the Ministry of Justice in policy and regulations recommendations on TIP and SOM which will be used to ground further the next steps (creating in future a coordination committee, Task Force/ Observatory on TIP and SOM).

Specialized Units - Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM)

There is any specialized unit on TIP and SOM. In this regard, it needs to refer to DCIM, GACS and LCGPS who are the main agencies working on these matters.


General Information

As reported over the past five years, Libya is a destination and transit country for men, women and children from Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and it is a source country for Libyan children recruited and used by armed groups within the country. Kidnapping/abduction for the purpose of extortion remains widespread along migratory routes. The human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Libya and the instability, conflict, and lack of government oversight and capacity in Libya continued to allow for human trafficking crimes to persist and become highly profitable for traffickers. Libya’s inherent geographical position as a gateway between Africa and Europe, juxtaposed with the fact that it shares land borders with six countries, makes it a significant country for a wide variety of migration dynamics. In the absence of a comprehensive legal framework governing their presence in Libya, irregular migrants, refugees and potential asylum seekers continued to be at risk of arrest, detention, deportation and exploitation. Moreover, Libya, as a result of higher surveillances and closure of some migration routes leading to Europe, became a country of destination for many African migrants. There are 46,395 refugee and asylum seekers. Up to 90% of people crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe depart from Libya. Libya’s borders remain largely ungoverned, and securing the periphery is among the country’s greatest challenges. Weak border control allows markets in arms, people, and narcotics to thrive alongside everyday trafficking in fuel and goods, with profound consequences for the region as a whole.

Main Trends and Figures

Data on TIP and SOM is extremely limited. As of June 2020, there were 401,836 internally displaced persons, 457,324 persons who are returning home, and 625,638 migrants of more than 40 different nationalities. Labor migrants in Libya typically come from sub-Saharan and Sahel states. The country continued to serve as a departure point for migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the Mediterranean to Europe from North Africa; however, the numbers of sea departures from Libya to Europe continued to decrease throughout 2019 and over previous years.

Since May 2017, IOM has identified 6,772 (4,389 males, 895 females and 1488 children) amongst VoTs and persons at risk in Libya. 5,718 persons received health assistance, 3,530 migrants received core relief items, 12,523 IDPs received reliefs items. 1,496 migrants returned to Libya in June, 8,642 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta in 2020, 5374 migrants departed from Libya, 255 reportedly died in 2020.


Existing Mechanisms

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotlines

TIP/SOM - 1404 *

Others (Children protection/ assistance) - Not available

*The existing helpline/hotline called the “interagency call center for humanitarian assistance” (which does  not to report to authorities)

National Referral Mechanism and/or Standard Operating Procedures

Currently, there is no NRM nor SOP’s related to TIP and SOM in Libya. The IASC Protection Sector Referral pathways exists to provide humanitarian assistance to victims among international organizations and international and national NGOS.

However, the existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response in Libya has some orientations that can be utilized to assist some victims of trafficking under specific circumstances. These SOPs were developed to support a consistent understanding and general approach for the early identification, referral and assistance to vulnerable migrants, IDPs, returnees, vulnerable host community members and refugees in Libya. The SOPs provide guidance on procedures, roles and responsibilities of various service providers for individual assistance and referral for services.

Measures to Detect Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) Cases along the Borders

There are no specific measures in place. However, IOM Libya organised in 2019 two training sessions on Combatting Smuggling of migrants with participation of Border guards of MoD, General Administration of Border Security, National team on Border Security and DCIM. In addition, the IOM’s Protection Unit has provided trainings to Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice in 2019.

Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)

  • The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), under the Ministry of Interior, covers both technical and judicial aspects of criminal investigations. It is the highest authority in the MoI on technical matters. The CID’s mandate is to investigate serious and organised crimes. It also counts with a department specialized in combatting illegal migration, human smuggling, drugs and weapons trafficking, financial/ economic crimes, money laundering, abductions, murder and extortion. There are five branches: Benghazi, Tobruk, Marj, Albayada and Sebha. Its operational capacity counts 5,000 staff members nationwide, however, CID officials have stressed the need for adequate human, material and financial resources, in order to comply with the mandate. Moreover, the CID is struggling with the pressure it faces from armed groups.

  • General investigation Department (GID) counts with a broad mandate: fighting terrorism, organised crime and deals with issues related to Libya’s industrial and oil sectors. However, neither it has the organization, legal framework nor capacity to effectively comply with its mandate. It has also an investigation branch, which deals with counter terrorism. The department counts approx. 6.000 persons, is internally divided between those who have been incorporated following the revolution (20-25%) and those who have a police background. Moreover, it also counts members of the militias. Its operational capacity is limited, due to the lack of technical means and trained personnel. The headquarter is located in Tripoli’s third circle road and Mitiga Airport and Ras Adjir border crossing point.

Identity and Travel Documentation/Investigation and Forensic Lab

(This is in views to support identity verification/establishment as for victims and traffickers).

The General Administration for Passport, Nationality and Foreign Affairs Department (PNFAD) carried out regular check on possible fraudulent document.

Through the EUBAM project, The CID (Forensic Department) has also received training on several basic level Document Security Courses. It provides theoretical knowledge and practical exercises in document security control, including watermark recognition, type of material used, stamps, ink, printing techniques, and so on. The trainees are also introduced to countering and recognizing Schengen Visa falsification methods in order to inhibit expatriation of people towards Europe without regular documentation. 

Technical Working Groups (TWG)

In Libya there is a Migrant and Refugee Platform established under the Humanitarian Country Team (UNSMIL), but its core area does not involve real exchange on issues around TIP and SOM.

Also, Libyan Authorities and UN have established a Mixed Migration Working Group, mainly tasked to coordinate international assistance, but also to provide assistance to migrants and refugees who have suffered abuse including TIP and SOM.

Agency Responsible for Data Collection and Processing

The Government of Libya did not provide any relevant information/data on TIP and SOM. This is mainly done by either the UN organizations or International NGO’s or the coordination committee if there is one.

Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies

Competent Authority and Mechanism to Identify Victims of Trafficking

In Libya, there is no legislation and no authority that recognizes VoT legally. There is no booklet available for the listing existing assistance services.

Cross-Border Cooperation

International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and Extradition Treaties


  • In 2004, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols, ratified by Libya in 2004.

  • In February 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding on development cooperation, illegal immigration, human trafficking, fuel smuggling and reinforcement of border security was signed between the Italian Prime Minister and the Head of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord.

  • In November 2006, the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children was adopted by the Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development between the EU and the African Union.

  • In October 2016, Libya signed the Khartoum Declaration on AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants.

  • Libya is also part of the AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (AU HoAI) which was established in 2014 and serves as a forum for participating countries from the Horn of Africa region to debate issues, exchange information, share experiences and deliberate on the status and counter measure approaches to human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

  • International Organization for Migration (IOM) established its operations in Libya in 2006 and is active and present with its more than 150 staff in the east, west and south of the country. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix monitors displacement and migration trends, which data and analysis aim to provide an evidence base to facilitate targeted humanitarian interventions. Through its guidance, IOM is able to tailor a comprehensive response to the humanitarian needs of migrants, internally displaced, returnee populations and host communities. Co-chairing the Mixed Migration Working Group with UNHCR, IOM is taking the lead on responding to the urgent need of humanitarian assistance related to the country’s migration crisis. The Mediterranean crossing between Libya and Italy is often described as one of the most dangerous migratory routes in the world. For more information, see IOM Libya (based in Tunis).

  • UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, despite the prevailing political and security dynamics in Libya since 2014, UNODC continues to provide support in the form of technical assistance and advisory services to the Libyan authorities to counter transnational organised crime. UNODC has a number of activities including capacity-building training for representatives of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Illegal Migration Department, Coastal Security, the Libyan Coast Guard and the Attorney-General’s Office on investigating cases of migrant smuggling.

  • Cooperation with INTERPOL through its National Central Bureau in Tripoli, it connects their national law enforcement with other countries and with the General Secretariat via our secure global police communications network called I-24/7. As part of their role, it supports in global investigations, NCBs work with: Law enforcement agencies in their own country, Other NCBs and Sub-Bureaus around the world and The General Secretariat’s offices worldwide. 

  • The Project SHARAKA - a case study: Seaport operation in Libya. It is an operation carried out by Libyan authorities at the seaports of Khoms in October 2020. Led by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Tripoli, in cooperation with the Customs department, the Criminal Investigation Service and other security agencies. The operation boosted ongoing information exchange and expanded access to INTERPOL’s databases. The Project SHARAKA team gave remote operational and technical support to NCB Tripoli, and provided devices for mobile connection to INTERPOLs databases and biometric devices to collect fingerprints. More than 30 Libyan police officers were deployed to screen individuals and their passports; collect fingerprints and facial images from suspected crew members; and inspect vessels, vehicles and cargos.


  • The Cooperation Agreement between Libya and Italy on Fighting Terrorism, Organised Crime, Illicit Drugs and Human Trafficking (32000-/12/ Rome).

  • The Cooperation Agreement between Libya and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Programs relevant to Migration, Health, Capacity Building, Countering Migrant Smuggling, Emigration, Immigration and Assistance to the Displaced. (92005-/8/ Geneva). 

  • Memorandum of Understanding between Libya and the European Commission on Addressing Illegal Migration (222006/5/).

  • Memorandum of Understanding between Libya and the European Union on Borders, Movement and Migration (232007/7/).

  • The Treaty of Friendship between Libya and Italy on Several Issues, Including Fighting Migration and Securing Borders (302008/8/).

  • The Cooperation Agreement between Libya and Niger on Securing Common Border Areas (2008).

  • The Cooperation Agreement between Libya and the European Union on Borders, Movement and Migration (42010-/10/ Tripoli).

  • The EU-Libya Senior Officials Joint Declaration on Borders, Movement and Migration (42010- /10/ Tripoli).

  • The Tripoli Declaration Concluded Between Libya and Italy on Migration and Development (212012/1/).

  • Memorandum of Agreement Between Libya and Italy on Fighting Illegal Migration and Activating Agreements Concluded between the Two Parties on Land and Sea Border Security (282012/2/)

  • Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Fields of Development, Fighting Illegal Migration, Human Trafficking and Smuggling and Strengthening Border Security between Libya and Italy (22017/2/).

  • Find additional information on relevant conventions to which Libya has acceded (Multilateral and Bilateral agreements p 78/79/80)

Transnational Referral Mechanism

A transnational referral mechanism (TRM) does not currently exist.

To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and tool

Additional International Instruments

  • About EU Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM): Since 2013, EUBAM Libya supports the Libyan authorities in developing border management and security at the country’s land, sea and air borders. As a civilian crisis management mission with a capacity-building mandate, EUBAM assists Libyan authorities at strategic and operational level. The work is carried out through advising, training and mentoring Libyan counterparts in strengthening the border services in accordance with international standards and best practices, and by advising the Libyan authorities on the development of a national Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy. EUBAM has also helped establish a working group on southern Libya, chaired by the head of the National Team on Security and Border Management and including representatives of the three Brigades of the Salvador Triangle and the Military Council. There is also discussion on possible coordination with EUCAP Sahel Niger, EUCAP Sahel Mali and Frontex.

  • To promote modern law enforcement in Libya, EUBAM organised a meeting of the Organised Crime Coordination Panel (OCCP). The meeting was supported by Austria, the Netherlands and EUROPOL. The Organised Crime Coordination Panel was created in 2018 to promote the development of a modern, human rights compliant Libyan police organization. Libyan and European experts discuss in the OCCP mainly the collection, analysis and sharing of organised crime related data.

  • In April 2020, The European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) Libya and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Country Office in Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding on mutual cooperation. EUBAM and the IOM will, together with their Libyan counterparts, engage in prudent planning on future border security and management policies, which will be ready to be implemented once a political agreement has been found between the warring parties. The Memorandum of Understanding envisages close cooperation in the implementation of the “Support to Integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya” project, funded by European Union Emergency Trust Fund. The synergy between EUBAM and IOM will further support the Libyan counterparts in their implementation of reforms in the areas of Integrated Border Management, Law Enforcement and the Rule of Law in Libya.

  • The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) is an integrated special political mission established on 16 September 2011 by UN Security Council Resolution 2009 (2011) at the request of the Libyan authorities to support the country’s new transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts. UNSMIL’s mandate was modified and extended by the Security Council in resolutions. Its current mandate is stipulated by the latest UN Security Council Resolution 2486 (2019), which extended UNSMIL’s mission until 15 September 2020.

  • In November 2019, the final report of the Panel of Experts on Libya established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1973 (2011), in accordance with paragraph 15 of resolution 2441 (2018). The report was provided to the Security Council Committee established concerning Libya on 28 October2019 and was considered by the Committee on 25 November 2019.

Consult EUBAM or UNSMIL for further information on the Panel of Experts on Libya.

Relevant National Legislation and Policies

Entry Requirements

All 15 ECOWAS member states and EU countries: Require visa and valid passport when entering Libya.

Visa on Arrival: Not applicable.

Visa exempted: Libya is known for its strict visa policy. Very few countries are visa exempt such as Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Turkey, but they must present a valid passport when entering Libya.

National Legislation

To respect its international and regional commitments, Libya has taken legal and institutional measures to combat trafficking in persons. On the national legal level:

  • There is no comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in Libya. However, a draft law on Trafficking in Persons is available from the Ministry of Justice Website. The draft law consists of thirty articles, including penalties and fines for perpetrators of trafficking as well as protection mechanisms and monetary aid to survivors of trafficking. 

  • The 1953 Penal Code (Articles 418, 419, 420, 425, 426, as amended in 2014) criminalized some forms of sex trafficking involving women and slavery, but did not criminalize labor trafficking and did not include adult male victims (available only Arabic).

  • Ongoing: It Is worth mention that the Ministry of Justice requested IOM Libya to present policy and regulations recommendations based on the findings of the ongoing study and joining effort with UNODC on this matter. 


It is worth mentioning that Libyan law criminalizes irregular entry into, stay in and exit from Libya and does not distinguish between migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, migrants in vulnerable situations, migrant children, or other migrants in need of international human rights protection.

  • Law No. 6 of 1987 regulating entry, residence and exit of foreign nationals provided for the imprisonment and deportation of those who entered the country irregularly or sought to exit without a proper visa. The law was amended through Law No. 2 of 2004 that tightens visa requirements and penalizes “smuggling by any means”.

Recent Modifications and New Decrees

Immigration in Libya is regulated by Law No. (19) of 2010 on combatting illegal immigration. Article 1 provides: “an illegal immigrant shall be anyone who enters the territory of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or resides therein without permission or authorization from the competent bodies, with the intent to settle therein or cross to another country.” Article 6 sets the measures to deter irregular migration as follows: “Foreign illegal immigrants shall be penalized by detention with hard labour or by a fine not exceeding 1,000 LYD. In all cases, a foreigner convicted of any of the crimes set forth in this law shall be expelled from the territory of the Great Jamahiriya immediately upon execution of the sentence”.

When executing its competencies, The Directorate for Illegal Migration (DCIM) which was formed following the Decree No (386) of 2014 is bound by international obligations and international treaties to which Libya is a party:

  • 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • 1991 Child Protection and Welfare Ordinance

  • Child Protection Law No. 5 of 1997

  • Article 34 of Libya’s Draft Constitution of 2016

The Directorate for Illegal Migration (DCIM), under the Ministry of Interior (GNA), is nominally responsible for operating official detention centers. While some of the detainees in DCIM centers are arrested in raids on smuggler camps, private homes, and in stops on the streets, the increase of the interceptions at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) is swelling numbers at the centers and contributing to greater overcrowding and deteriorating conditions. Human rights abuses are widespread in Libya’s detention centers.

Existing Policies

  • The Decree no. 386 of 2014 established a Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) is mandated to implement the national legal framework on migrants’ smuggling and trafficking in persons and deal with the situation of migrants in the country is responsible for: 

  • Developing and implementing anti-smuggling and illegal border crossing security plans

  • apprehending migrants and referring them to the competent judicial authorities

  • placing irregular migrants in detention centers and monitoring their situation 

  • completing deportation procedures in coordination with the relevant authorities supervising the detention centres and assisting them in their activity

According to its organizational structure, the DCIM includes different related directorates and branches such as Detention centers and the Deportation Office. This Unit works under the supervision of the Control and Operations Directorate and is responsible for transferring migrants from disembarkation points to detention centers or similar facilities, hospitals or others, as well as the transfer of migrants between the centers or from the centers to the judicial authorities, public prosecution offices and other entities.

The functions of this body include also:

  • Study and draft strategic plans to limit the phenomenon of illegal migration in Libya

  • Prepare and implement security plans to combat crimes of smuggling persons and infiltration

  • Apprehend illegal migrants in Libya and place them in shelters to monitor them and complete the procedures necessary for deporting them to their countries of origin in coordination with the relevant authorities

  • Document records pertaining to apprehended infiltrators and smugglers and create a database in this regard

  • Collect information and investigate, sort, and classify cases of human trafficking, organised crime, the smuggling of persons, and infiltration

  • Coordinate with the relevant security agencies to prosecute the perpetrators and suspects

Legal Instruments for Assistance and Compensation to Victims of Trafficking


Information in this regard is limited and for Victims of TIP in Libya, no residence permits are issued.


information not available

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