A majority of migrants in Libya plan to stay in the North African country, not travel to Europe, according to a new report by the IOM.
Surveys of nearly 2,000 migrants across the country found that 56% intend to remain in Libya, while around 30% plan to continue to either Italy, Germany or France.
The demographic makeup of the migrants reflects a longstanding pattern of regional migration, with most being younger males from surrounding countries, particularly Niger, Egypt and Sudan.
While most reported leaving due to economic factors, other migrants reported “limited access to basic services” or war as reasons for leaving.
The results come amid growing concern over trafficking and exploitation in Libya. A report by the UN last month found that over 70% of migrants traveling to Europe from North Africa showed strong signs of having been trafficked, exploited, or abused during their journey, with a majority of cases involving kidnappings and forced work taking place in Libya.
Forms of exploitation that migrants have reportedly suffered include forced work, work without compensation, and being held against their will. Some also reported having been approached by someone offering a job or to arrange a marriage. A small minority of travelers reported having been aware of migrants being approached to sell their own blood, organs or body parts.
Seafaring migrants to Europe, often known to be traveling across the Mediterranean in makeshift dinghies, have drowned or been lost at sea. Weeks ago, around 240 migrants appeared to have drowned off the coast of Libya after two inflatable dingies capsized.
The United Nations Refugee Agency has estimated that the total number of casualties exceeds 4,000.