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Immigrants Being Sold As Slaves in Libya

Immigrants trying to reach Europe are being detained in Libya and sold into slavery.

Immigrants trying to reach Europe are being detained in Libya and sold into slavery.

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Overwhelming issues of violence in slavery are captivating Libya, where Nigerian immigrants are sold into slavery by smugglers for as much as $400. A huge part of this problem is the current state of Libya, which is a fragile mess ever since the regime of late Libya dictator Moammar Gaddafi collapsed in 2011. Since then, the country has become an extreme focal point of regional smuggling networks.

In the past three years, more than 150,000 migrants and refugees have made the crossing to Europe from Libya. It just so happens to be that Libya is the main transit point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. According to figures from the International Organization of Migration (IOM), 3,000 refugees have died while attempting the journey over the last four years.

In response to this crisis, former Nigerian aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode tweeted, “This is what Libyans do to Sub-Saharan Africans who are looking for a transit point to Europe. They sell them into slavery and either murder, mutilate, torture, or work them to death.” Along with this statement, Fani-Kayode had confronted Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, who has been silent upon the matter. But recently, Muhammadu Buhari says he is working to bring back stranded Nigerians to Libya and discourage more from fleeing the country.

There are estimates of 400,000 to one million people bottled up in Libya, which only leads to the detention centers becoming overrun with outrageous behavior. With conditions being described as horrific, these centers are mounted with constant reports of robbery and murder amongst the migrants. Along with these descriptions, the U.N. human rights agency issued additional reports of the migrants becoming extremely vulnerable to being sold off as laborers in slave auctions. As stated by Leonard Doyle of the International Organization of Migration, “As shocking as it seems, it is indeed true. The reason [slave trade] can happen is because there is really no rule of law across much of Libya.”

In an effort to stop migrants before they ever reach Europe, the European Union has commenced paying African ascendant entities, especially in Niger and Libya, to detain migrants. In lieu of stemming their flow, it has coerced migrants to travel along more perilous smuggling routes and has swollen the number of people stuck in Libya, one leg away from their journey’s end. As stated by Leonard Doyle of the International Organization of Migration, “As shocking as it seems, it is indeed true. The reason [slave trade] can happen is because there is really no rule of law across much of Libya.”

Currently, the United Nations Security Council met in an emergency session this week to consider applying sanctions and the full range of international law against the smugglers involved in slave trade.

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Immigrants Being Sold As Slaves in Libya