FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 file photo, Aquarius the vessel of NGOs, SOS Mediterranee and MSF drifts in the international waters north of Libya. Migrants trying to reach Europe face routine rape and sexual torture throughout their journey _ and especially in Libya _ with men facing abuse nearly as routinely as women, according to a study based on dozens of interviews with aid workers and migrants. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic, File)
Smugglers torture migrants and film it to extract ransom payments from their families, and to thin the number of people in their unofficial prisons, according to the study. Previous studies have found that nearly all women who cross from North Africa have been raped or sexually abused along the journey; this one found that the danger was likely nearly as prevalent among men. A mental health worker described graves filled with men with their genitals sliced off — a description corroborated by the account of a survivor of a mass mutilation.
Migrants told similarly horrific stories about rape, forced incest and mass sexual abuse intended to humiliate detainees who had to strip naked and become either rapists themselves or victims.
According to a 20-year-old man from Guinea, “when the men came back crying, they would talk about what the guards did to them and how violent it was.”