An investigation recently exposed the modern day slave auctions which are taking place in Libya. Youn men from the West and Sub-Saharan Africa are being sold at slave markets as farm workers. Most of these migrants are travelling through the north african nation as they try to reach Europe, but end up being held by smugglers and forced to work for little or no money.
Although a commitee has been established by Libya’s Ministry of Foregin Affairs, a call for more support from the global community has been reiterated in order to tackle the issue. Meanwhile, Alpha Conde – African Union chairman – has expressed the need for “these modern slavery practices” to end, and has affirmed that the AU will use “all the tools at its disposal” to adress this problem.
A 34-year-old survivor who came from Senegal said he was taken to a dusty lot in the south Libyan city of Sabha after crossing the desert from Niger in a bus organised by people smugglers. The group was expecting to be taken to the coast, where they planned to risk a boat trip to Europe. In this square – the witness explained – several locals were buying sub-Saharan migrants. After his sale, the Senegalese migrant was taken to a makeshift prison, where other slaves where being held and forced to work without pay or on meagre rations. His captors then called up his family and asked for 300,000 west African francs (about $543), then sold him on to a larger jail where the demand doubled without explanation. His terrified family began scraping together loans and managed to pay his release. He was fortunate enough, as men who linger there too long without the ransom being paid were taken away and killed.