Actor Ross Kemp has said the UK has a responsibility to help with the migrant crisis in Libya.
The soap star-turned-film maker visited the country for his latest documentary, which follows the journey migrants make through the Sahara desert as part of efforts to reach Europe.
In an article for the Radio Times, the former EastEnders star called on Europe and Britain to do more “given our role in the country’s decline into chaos”.
Ross said his visit left him without much “hope,” adding there was little NGO (non-governmental organisation) or aid presence.
“The country is divided with three competing governments and even they can’t control the hundreds of armed militias that have sprung up since the end of Gaddafi’s dictatorship,” he said.
“In this chaos, migrants are not only lacking in any legal or practical protection but they also represent a huge source of income to unscrupulous smuggling gangs.”
He describes the situation as a “kind of modern-day slave trade”.
“Women are often trafficked into prostitution. The smugglers tell them they are going to Italy before selling them to brothel owners where they are subjected to indefinite rape and assault, with little chance of escape.”
Ross, who was filming for the Sky series Ross Kemp: Extreme World, added: “It seems nobody wants them. Not their own countries, Libya or Europe. European leaders, under pressure to reduce the number of people entering their countries as migrants, have signed a new deal with Libya, but far from helping people to escape, the EU deal is aimed at keeping them there.
“Can we really consider this an acceptable solution to such a horrific situation?”
This week’s Radio Times is on sale today.