Migrant & Refugee Crisis 2017
Assad (28) Pakistan
From Pakistan in the beginning, I met an agent in my village who said he'd help me book a flight to Libya, and that he knew people there who could hire me for paid work. When I reached Libya, I was hired by a company in Sabha, I worked 11 months for them, I never was paid. I asked and asked, I was told soon, you will get paid. Then the company sent me to Tripoli, saying there was a better position there, they lied. I was left me there, with nothing. No job, no place to live, nothing. Some months went by where I struggled a lot. Then I found a job near by in Tripoli, where I worked for a little over a year with them. For seven months, they paid, the other months, they didn't. It was tough. During this time I was kidnapped by mafia in the night by car, I was taken to a prison. Where I was beaten many times. Everyday there was no peace, always fighting. So I decided to put my life in the sea hands. I paid 500 euros for freedom. I stayed in the prison for 1 month and 3 days, if I didn't pay up, I thought I would be killed. I'd see Libya men everyday taking people who couldn't pay outside, they we wouldn't see them anymore. I would try and call their mobile phones, no answer. At 1am, they woke us up yelling to come, come! It was very dark when I was shoved into a car and taken to the sea. The big Libyan (Coast Guard) ship dragged up back into Libyan waters, they dropped our engine. I was very afraid, as the waves were very rough and with no engine, I thought it was the end. I tried my best to help my people, reason I grabbed the rope from your crew, I knew I had to get my friends and people to safety. I didn't think I would be able to hang onto your rope for over an hour, but I did. It was tough, but I held on with all my strength.
Marwan (28) Libya
I fled from Libya, because of the economic and on going war. I made and sold clothes in my country, but almost all the time I would get robbed, the mafia would take the clothes and all my money and mobile. It was awful. I couldn't even walk down my street and do anything. I was kidnapped three times and every-time my parents had to pay for my freedom. One time during my in prison, the men sprayed, spray paint into my eyes. It burned so much, I thought I would go blind. When the Libyan's came onto our boat during the rescue, they asked for our money and mobile. They then told us we'll take all this when we're back in Libya, as the big orange boat is watching us. I knew if I would be brought back to my country I'd be killed. So after a few minutes of the men dragging out boat alongside there's, I jumped into the water. I was saved in the last minutes I felt, because I took on a lot of water, I remember seeing a man and a women from your boat, they pulled me in. I felt so much relief. I feel I have a new life now. I never wanna ever come back to Libya. Too much torture against myself and my people.
Winston (22) Nigeria
I started my journey two years ago with my younger brother. I lost my brother in January of this year. We were in Tripoli, staying in a garage, when we heard shooting, a bunch of us starting running. An Arab man caught my brother and I, and they shot him in the head in front of me. I managed to escape. A few days later a couple young Libyan boys kidnapped me from the road. I was taken to a prison, where I stayed for 3 months. During this time I worked everyday for various men in the farm. I would eat once every three days. I was very uncomfortable on the farm, I kept seeing my brother being killed. I'd work in the afternoon and then would be taken back to the prison in the evening. Almost everyday I was beaten and threatened by the men, always demanding I call my family for money. 400 euro. I told them, I don't have a father and my mother, she cannot work and has barely any money. After those three months, I was let go, with no money. I was picked up by another group of men who took me to a house, where I stayed for a few days, then I escaped from them. Everyday there were shootings in the house. I had to get away. I am so very weak from my travels. I begged a young man to help me to leave this country. He agreed and kept me in a house all day and told me not to leave. I never left, I just sat and waited for him. Then in the night he came with his car and I got in. I had no idea I was gonna cross the sea. When I was at the shore, I was scared for my life. I just wanted to leave the country, not this way, I wanted to leave by car or plane to Europe. But he brought me this far and didn't charge me anything, so I told myself take the sea.