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The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on six leaders of human trafficking networks operating in Libya – the first time traffickers have been put on an international sanctions list.

BBC reports that the blacklisted six are four Libyans, including the head of a regional coast guard unit, and two Eritrean nationals.

The sanctions include a global travel ban and an assets freeze and were the result of an internationally-backed Dutch proposal.

“Last fall, images of migrants being sold as slaves in Libya shocked our conscience, and the Security Council vowed to take action,” said the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley.

“Today’s sanctions send a strong message that the international community is united in seeking accountability for perpetrators of human trafficking and smuggling. There is no place in our world for such abuses of human rights and human dignity,” she said.

When the Security Council first mulled sanctions, Russia asked for additional information “to better understand the value of the said proposal, how efficient it might be if approved,” according to a letter quoted by AFP.

Russia called for a meeting to examine the evidence on the involvement of the six individuals and noted that the criminal networks “stretch to many European countries and the United States.”

The sanctions blacklist was presented May 1 and Russia put a hold on the request a week later.

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