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H.Res. 644 (115th): Strongly condemning slave auctions and the exploitation of migrants and refugees as forced laborers in Libya, and for other purposes.

The text of the resolution below is as of Dec 4, 2017 (Introduced).



1st Session

H. RES. 644


December 4, 2017

(for herself, Mr. Engel, Mr. Poe of Texas, Ms. Lee, Mr. Richmond, Mr. Payne, Ms. Jackson Lee, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Hastings, Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Mr. Clyburn, Ms. Norton, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Clay, Mr. Cleaver, Ms. Moore, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Ms. Fudge, Ms. Sewell of Alabama, Mrs. Beatty, Mr. Jeffries, Mr. O'Rourke, Mr. Pocan, Mr. Veasey, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Ms. Plaskett, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Ms. Blunt Rochester, Mrs. Demings, Mr. Espaillat, Mrs. Lawrence, Mrs. Love, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Doggett, Mr. Rush, Mr. Pallone, and Ms. Adams) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Strongly condemning the slave auctions of migrants and refugees in Libya, and for other purposes.

Whereas on, November 14, 2017, a Cable News Network (CNN) investigation uncovered slave auctions of migrants and refugees in Libya;

Whereas in April 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) gathered evidence and issued a warning about slave markets in Libya;

Whereas in December 2016, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that many migrants in Libya are forced to work for no pay on farms, as domestic workers, construction and road paving workers, and rubbish collectors, including by or for guards working in detention centers run by Libya’s Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM);

Whereas Libya is a primary transit hub for migrants and refugees attempting to reach Southern Europe by sea and the United Nations estimates that there are now between 700,000 and one million migrants and refugees in the country;

Whereas human smuggling and trafficking has become a lucrative trade as a result of the power vacuum in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011;

Whereas OHCHR reported that DCIM guards torture, sexually assault, and otherwise abuse detainees, there is no refugee registration process or legal procedures to challenge detention, and conditions are generally inhumane—including severe overcrowding and inadequate access to toilets, washing facilities, food, and clean water;

Whereas the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reported that unaccompanied children who crossed the Mediterranean suffered enslavement, violence, and sexual abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers;

Whereas UNICEF reported not all migrants and refugees are held in centers run by DCIM and that some are held in unofficial camps run by armed groups;

Whereas Libya’s weak central government and continuing political turmoil is a contributing factor for the insecurity in the country and it has been reported that the Government of National Accord does not control the entire country;

Whereas poverty and insecurity are the key drivers of migration in the sub-Saharan countries from which many of the migrants originate; and

Whereas slavery has no place in the world: Now, therefore, be it

That the House of Representatives—


strongly condemns slave auctions of migrants and refugees in Libya;


calls upon the Government of Libya to—


conduct an immediate investigation into the existence of slave auctions and forced labor involving migrants and refugees;


hold smugglers, traffickers, detention center guards, and anyone else involved accountable;


manage migration flows in a humane manner;


urgently end the violent and inhumane conditions of official migrant detention centers and generally manage migration flows in a humane manner; and


swiftly register asylum seekers and fairly process their refugee claims and do not detain them;


calls upon the United Nations to—


investigate allegations of the slave trade and other forced labor in Libya;


encourage Libya to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to regularly monitor and publicly report on the situation of all refugees and migrants in Libya, including those detained in official detention centers; and


impose sanctions against Libya if the country fails to end slave auctions and other forms of forced labor;


calls upon the African Union to—


conduct its own investigation into slave auctions of African refugees and migrants in Libya;


work to assist migrants in Libya who genuinely wish to return home; and


impose sanctions against Libya if the slave auctions and other forms of forced labor do not end;


calls upon the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to use funds authorized and appropriated for—


provision of humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees in detention centers in Libya; and


the development of a holistic strategy for Libya to address the political and security situation that includes issues related to migrants and refugees in detention centers; and


calls upon the President to ensure the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development are adequately staffed to monitor and develop strategies to rapidly respond to the migrant and refugee situation in Libya.