But many of those intercepted end up in detention centres in Libya, where some migrants say they are used as slaves, as the BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty found when she spoke to some Nigerians who have just returned home.
As evening falls on Benin-City, outside the mildewed 1960s block of one of the city’s many hotels, a group of men and women are sitting on a scattering of plastic chairs, under a sign advertising “exotic cocktails” and “groovy nights”.
But they are not here for drinks or dancing; they are about to start the hard work of rebuilding their lives. They have come from Libya, where most of them were held in detention centres by the Libyan authorities.
And they have returned with accounts of horrifying abuse, including being leased or sold as slaves. ‘They gave us to their friends’ Agen Akhere has a round, baby-face but his small eyes are searing red.
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Originally posted 1970-01-01 00:00:00.