The Libyan Slavery Situation

Earlier this year, reports emerged that West African immigrants were being auctioned openly in what has become the present-day slavery. These reports emerged after survivors from the ordeals returned home following efforts by the UN. Some of the ordeals they underwent include extortion, sexual abuse, hard labour, and violence.

Ever since the dictatorial leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown, the country’s already volatile state boiled over into outright chaos. Consequently, even more immigrants have taken advantage of the chaos and chance an illegal entrance into Europe via sea. However, the chaos presented a challenge to most migrants with little money and no papers. The poor folk are being sold to the highest bidder openly where they are then subjected to extremely harsh living conditions coupled with hard labour. Some of the “buyers” choose to extort the families of the people they have in custody. Healthy people and pregnant ladies fetch the highest prices.

These reports led to massive outrages from the entire world. In Paris, for example, hundreds of people took to the streets in front of the Libyan embassy condemning the trade. Most of the protestors were young black people carrying signs and banners that condemned the actions. Even celebrities have taken up the call condemning the illegal trade. One of such celebrities is football superstar Paul Pogba who is of French descent. Kenyans have been protesting as well.

Reports have emerged just this week that there have been five Kenyans who fallen victim to the trade. The five people were allured by grandeur and riches beyond measure by the notorious and dangerous Magafe Network. The unsuspecting Kenyans went to Libya, but once the network had no use for them, they were sold. In August of this year, three Kenyan girls were rescued from the streets of Cairo after escaping the Libyan slave markets where they were subject to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and malnourishment.

However, all is not lost. The international community has exerted pressure on Libya to curb the inhumane and barbaric system. Together with the UN, the Libyan coastguard has done a few things that have considerably reduced the number of boats getting to Europe illegally. What the international community plans to do about Libya remains to be seen though, because the issue continues despite international condemnation and protests.

Ferdinand Bada
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