But critics fear that without dealing with the root triggers of migration, these kind of border controls are short-sighted at best. So far this year, only 1 in every 10 attempting to escape Libya by sea has been successful — the rest die, disappear, or are returned by the Libyan coast guard. Everyone aboard, including the smugglers, had all but given up hope by the time they were intercepted by men who claimed to be with the Libyan coast guard. A fellow Nigerian prisoner, who had spent so long in Libya he spoke almost fluent Arabic, seized the opportunity to escape by tricking their young prison guard. But its darkest consequences were often erased from the narrative: the tens of thousands of black Africans entrapped in a growing slave market. He had planned for a two-week journey northward across the Sahara desert into Libya, from where he would set off in a boat across the Mediterranean.
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