Episodes of violence suffered by migrants transiting through Libya: a cross-sectional study in “Médecins du Monde’s” reception and healthcare centre in Seine-Saint-Denis, France
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AbstractAbstract Introduction The Central Mediterranean Route, passing through Libya, is one of the most dangerous for migrants. Episodes of violence have been documented but have not been accurately quantified. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence of episodes of violence suffered in Libya by migrants consulting the Médecins du Monde reception and healthcare centre in Seine-Saint-Denis (Ile-de-France). Methodology A monocentric cross-sectional study was conducted from February to May 2019 including migrants over the age of 18 years who had passed through Libya and arrived in Europe from 2017. The presence of emotional distress was considered as exclusion criterion. The proportion, frequency and factors associated to physical, deprivation and sexual violence in Libya were estimated through a bespoke questionnaire, as well as healthcare access in Libya and psychosocial support needs. Results Ninety eight people were recruited and 72 were interviewed (17 refused to participate and 9 were excluded). 76.4% were men, with a mean age of 31.9 years, 76.4% had low educational level, 66.7% came from Ivory Coast and 59.7% had left their country for security reasons. The median length of stay in Libya was 180 days. The overall proportion of participants having suffered from violence was 96.4% among men and 88.2% among women. The prevalence of physical, deprivation and sexual violence for men and women were 94.2, 81.7 and 18% and 80.0, 86.7 and 53.3%, respectively. Access to healthcare in Libya was 2.8 and 63.9% of participants were oriented to psychosocial support after the interview. Conclusions The vast majority of migrants reported having been victims of violence during their transit through Libya. Women were at particular risk of sexual violence. Access to health care in Libya was almost non-existent. Psychosocial support for this population is urgent.