Libya: migrants sold at auction as slaves
“Who needs a minor? He’s a miner, a big strong man, he’s going to dig. CNN journalists filmed a human auction hiding their cameras in Libya, not far from the capital, Tripoli. In the space of a few minutes, they witnessed the sale of a dozen migrants, handed over by smugglers for sums ranging from 500 to 700 Libyan dinars (up to 435 euros). These “slave markets” would be held once or twice a month.
This survey of the American channel highlights the situations of slavery to which are reduced many migrants transiting through Libya to Italy, gateway to Europe. Interviewed by CNN journalists, a former slave who managed to escape tells his daily life: “They force you to work and they beat you. A Libyan official questioned in October confirmed that he had heard “rumors” but “nothing is happening in front of us”. Following CNN’s revelations, the authorities assured that an investigation would be opened.
Thousands of migrants and refugees cross Libya each year in a better life in Europe. But thanks to a recent crackdown, a few boats are making it to the sea, leaving a human smugglers with a backlog of passengers. So they’re selling them off as slaves.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein on Tuesday (November 14th) strongly denounced the deterioration of the conditions of detention of migrants in Libya, describing as “inhuman” the cooperation of the European Union (EU) with this country. He also reported the suffering of these migrants, saying that this “slavery of modern times” constituted an “outrage to the conscience of humanity”.
“The international community can not continue to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya, and claim that the situation can only be resolved by improving conditions of detention. ”
At the forefront of the agreements with the Libyans, the Italian Minister of the Interior, Marco Minniti, responded by mentioning the efforts of his country for the voluntary repatriation of 9,500 of these migrants this year to their countries of origin and the impending transfer of a thousand “fragile” people (women, children, the elderly) to third countries.
A practice more and more frequent.
This is not the first time that such a trade is denounced. In April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that trafficking in human beings has become an increasingly common practice among smugglers.
Interviewed by IOM, migrants from West Africa said they had been bought and resold in garages and car parks in the town of Sabha, a town in southern Libya, through which many exiles pass. They are sold between 200 and 300 dollars (between 190 and 280 euros) and retained for two to three months on average.
Originally from Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia, migrants are captured as they make their way to northern Libya, from where they intend to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean. Throughout this trip, they are prey to armed groups and networks of smugglers, who sometimes try to extort money from them. Most migrants are used as day laborers in the construction and agriculture sectors.
But who is Buying these migrants? We are seeing only where they are being sold but we are not saying who is buying them.
We need to stage an embargo and sanctions against Libya and all countries involved in this shameful trading. We must ask our MP’s where we are to take the matter to our Government and vote Bill to sanction Libya and the countries involved.