When a video surfaced showing African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya in an apparent auction in 2017 ,it got viral and people worldwide called for action.
CNN published a report about modern slavery in Libya with a video in which a man is appeared to be selling African migrants as farm workers.
“Big strong boys,” the man is appearing saying in the video, “400 … 700 … 800,” calling the alleged prices. The men were reported to be sold for around $400 each, according to CNN reports. The reports called outrage from people with demonstrations in Paris and other cities calling for action . Libyans on the other hand showed their solidarity on Twitter with hashtags like #LibyansAgainstSlavery.
Several world leaders including the chairman of the African Union, President of Guinea Alpha Condé, has called it a “despicable trade ... from another era”.
UN Secretary General expressed his anger and said,”I am horrified at news reports and video footage showing African migrants in Libya reportedly being sold as slaves.Slavery has no place in our world, and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity.”However,the Libyan government has also announced an investigation for slave auctions happening in the country.
The video brought global attention to Libya.Migrants from Africa are trying to reach Europe come across Libya.In Libya,these migrants are vulnerable to abuses like human trafficking as the country serves as one of the main corridors for these migrants.These migrants travel to Libya fleeing conflicts and extreme poverty.The smugglers are operating dangerous passages from the Mediterranean sea with overcrowded boats and there have been numerous cases where boats are ousted.
A lot of people attempting to reach Europe have reportedly drowned in the sea.The smugglers often kill,torture,extort and even detain migrants at their will. The Libyan government has not intervened in the matter. Moreover,with stringent migration measures in Europe these people are taking even more risks to reach coasts.Currently,there are more than 45 million victims of human rights abuse like human trafficking,forced labour,modern slavery,according to a September report from the human rights group Walk Free Foundation.
While UN Secretary General has called for the international support to fight these human rights abuse. However,William Lacy Swing ,the director general of International Organisation for Migration said,”To end slave trade we need to stop human smuggling.”
One of the Human Rights Watch researcher said “People are rightfully outraged,But don’t hold your breath for anything real is going to now happen.”
True,two years after the video nothing has changed.However,US President Donald Trump’s has been supporting Libyan Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar who has promised to clamp down on the slave trade in Libya and those found guilty of human rights abuses to justice.