Friday, March 19, 2010

Libya: foreign women faces routine sexual harassment

TripoliImage via Wikipedia

This one from OSCA’s trove of Crime and Safety reports -- these are annual reports written by the Regional Security Officers of our embassies about the current environment overseas. Excerpt below from the 2010 report on Libya. Yes, the same place where the King of Kings rule:    

The Department of State considers Libya a high crime country. While official statistics are often inaccurate and difficult to access, crime has increased in recent years and outpaced the efforts of an under-equipped police department and an inefficient judicial system.The majority of crimes are property crimes, including pick-pocketing and purse-snatching. Criminals often target tourists and wealthy-looking foreigners, especially foreign women. Libyan criminals are mostly young, single men who commit crimes of opportunity both during the day and at night. While they are not often violent, victims may be jostled or pushed to the ground during the commission of a crime. Victims who resist may be subjected to greater violence. Vehicle thefts are on the rise.

Sexual harassment against foreign women continues to be a serious problem. Foreign women face routine harassment such as cat-calling and groping. Most foreign women are targeted while traveling alone or in pairs. However, the Libyan police have been somewhat successful in arresting and convicting sexual offenders.

Tripoli police do not maintain comprehensive crime statistics for individual neighborhoods and it is difficult to obtain an accurate assessment of the general crime level in Tripoli. Residential burglary is the most common crime reported by expatriates in Libya. Burglaries that were reported have occurred both during the day and at night. Rising burglary rates have caused many foreign individuals and companies to invest in residential security measures such as metal grillwork, alarm systems, and anti-climb devices. Burglars often carry edged weapons both as tools for entry and as a deterent against uncooperative victims.

Carjacking is an emerging crime in Libya. Carjackers may cause minor accidents as a pretext for luring their intended victim into stopping and exiting the vehicle to inspect for damage. Several foreigners in Tripoli have been carjacked in this manner; nearly all of them left their keys in the ignition when they exited their vehicles, thus making it easier for the carjackers.

While Libyan media do not report extensively on crime, there is a private perception that crime has increased due to the growing prevalence of wealthy foreigners and western goods, as well as growing numbers of migrant workers from around Africa. High unemployment and a rising cost of living also contribute to crime rates in Libya. If you are victimized, proceed immediately to the nearest police station, hotel, or major business for assistance.

Read the whole thing here.

No comments: