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The Slave Trade Haunts Libya and It’s Citizens

Jamal Muhammad December 7, 2017

The auctioneer: “900… 1,000… 1,100… 1,200… Sold. For 1,200.”

Tripoli, Libya — Hundreds of protesters crowded the Libyan Embassy in Paris a few weeks ago because they discover that an African migrant was getting auctioned into slavery.

A team of CNN investigating reporters captured gut-wrenching footage of nearly a dozen men being sold for as low as $400. According to CNN, nine locations across Libya is hosting human-trafficking rings and auctions are active at least once a month.

Nine locations that CNN believes these are active smuggling rings. Photo Credit: CNN

In the footage, it was a blurry video recorded by a cell phone and it displayed an unidentified Nigerian man in his twenties. A slave trader put the young man up for sale as a “big strong boy for farm work.”

CNN reporters then investigated tirelessly to verify its authenticity and the content of the footage. Many Libyans were kidnapped and taken under the radar sometimes six or seven people at a time.

“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig. What am I bid, what am I bid?,” said the salesman in the CNN stories.

Within minutes the slaves are under their master’s control. The buyer’s bid for “500, 550, 600, 650…” CNN met a few men who were sold in the auction and they claim that the men were so frightened that they were afraid to speak with any new people. The sad thing about it, the auctions are located in a normal town with children playing in the street, families engagement, and people living regular lives.

The sad thing about it, the auctions are located in normal towns with children playing in the street, families engagements, and people living regular lives.

Victory, a 21-year-old man who was smuggled, said that he could not endure the corruption under Nigeria’s Edo state regime for long, so he saved money for several years, planning to move to Europe.

“If you look at most of the people here, if you check your bodies, you see the marks. They are beaten, mutilated,” said Victory.

But Victory only made it Libya before being captured by a smuggler and put in mal conditions where he was physically and verbally abused, and faced starvation. Eventually, the smugglers demanded Victory’s family to pay a ransom before they released him, according to CNN.

Government’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency reported that nearly 25,500 migrants were apprehended in detention centers while waiting for deportation. In September, local authorities raided the auctions in Sabratha, Libya, rescuing thousands of migrants from warehouse and farms, according to CNN.

Refugees are fleeing to Libya’s borders in search for a better life in Europe. Families even sold all of their possessions to fund their getaway.

“They fill a boat will 100 people, those people may or may not make it. The smuggler does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrants may get to Europe or die at sea,” said First Lieutenant Naser Hazam.

The GNA said that they are working intensively to stop smuggling in the country. Also, the head of the government’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Authority, Mohammed Bisher, said that their offices are full of requests and want countries to take responsibility, according to CNN.

“We are 278 million Libyan dinars (nearly $210 million) in debt. We have to provide food, medicine, transportation… If the African Union wants to help, they can help,” said Bisher.

According to CNN, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “horrified” at the reports of refugees being sold into slavery. Guterres encourages the international community come together and fight against and crack down on smugglers.   


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