Migrants sitting at the Njila detention center in Tripoli after they fled from another center near the airport, due to fighting between rival factions | Credit: EPA/STRINGER
Migrants sitting at the Njila detention center in Tripoli after they fled from another center near the airport, due to fighting between rival factions | Credit: EPA/STRINGER

The liquidity crisis in Libya has made refugees and migrants vulnerable to abductions, robberies and not being paid for their job, according to a new report.

The study - which was carried out by the REACH initiative in cooperation with the UNHCR - analyzes the way in which migrants and refugees get cash in Libya. Researchers conducted 120 interviews with refugees and migrants and 20 interviews with key economic actors such as employers and retailers. 
While the liquidity crisis in Libya has affected the entire population, the researchers found that the situation has affected migrants and refugees more so than natives. 

Why is that? The report lists several reasons: 

Limited cash and the well-known fact that refugees and migrants are almost exclusively paid in cash has increased their exposure to theft and abduction. Moreover, lack of money has made it more likely that migrants are not paid by their employers. 

The low exchange rates available in Libya have led migrants and refugees to work more while earning less. As a consequence, they must spend more time in Libya to raise enough money to continue their journey or go back to their homecountry and to send money to their families. 

The crisis has also stopped remittances across the region. 

Majority doesn't want to go to Europe 

The study said that almost half of those interviewed said the monetary crisis had no impact on their decision whether to stay or leave Libya. Among those who said the situation had an impact on their decision to stay or leave the country, the majority said they did not want to go to Europe as a result. Those interviewed instead said they were considering whether to go back to their country or to stay in Libya for the time being.

The political crisis in Libya has had severe economic consequences. After the Gaddafi's regime was toppled in 2011 and the civil war started in 2014, Libya recorded a major economic crisis. This led to a cash crisis that has continuously worsened. Today, the Libyan dinar has lost most of its value. Prices for raw materials have boomed, making basic goods inaccessible for most of the population, including refugees and migrants. 

In spite of the ongoing economic crisis, Libya's economy continues to rely on refugees and migrants who are being paid in cash despite the country's cash shortage.
 

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