At least 14 people died one week ago when a boat full of migrants capsized off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy. Only two days before that, more than 40 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya as they tried to reach Europe.
Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi three years ago, the number of migrants passing through Libya has risen sharply. Sub-Saharan Africans have long been sources of cheap labor and many of them use Libya as a jump off point to reach Europe.
Although they are not equipped to properly address the issue alone, the Libyan coastguard did capture nearly 500 illegal migrants over the course of three days in early April.
Usually, the detainees are sent to police stations for processing and examination. Men, women and children are then separated and sent to various detention centres around the country.
Al Jazeera visited one of those facilities near Gharyan, just over an hour’s drive from Tripoli. Some of the men said they had been there for over a year with little time outside their cells. Many complained of mistreatment and discrimination, an unfortunate but common problem facing sub-Saharan Africans in Libya.
One of the guards and the man responsible for running the camp told Al Jazeera that conditions are not what they should be because they are poorly resourced and short staffed. They blame the government and say they are doing the best they can under the circumstances.