IOM: 80,000 illegal migrants voluntarily deported from Libya since 2015


Some of the migrants that were rescued off the coast of Libya. [Xinhua]

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday said that 80,000 illegal migrants have been voluntarily deported from Libya to their countries of origin since 2015 under IOM's Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) program.

The deported migrants included 2,733 victims of human trafficking, 843 unaccompanied or separated children, and 5,144 migrants with medical needs, the statement said.

Returning migrants receive post-arrival reception assistance in the countries of return and comprehensive reintegration support through individual reintegration assistance packages, including economic, social, and psychosocial support, the statement added.

"IOM Libya's staff work around the clock to assist vulnerable migrants in Libya who are in need of urgent protection assistance. Enabling migrants to make informed choices and ensuring their right to return home is advocated for, the VHR program offers a glimmer of hope in the face of extreme adversity," said Tauhid Pasha, IOM Libya's acting chief of mission.

Ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European shores.