An investigation by CNN recently revealed that people are being sold like items up for auction on eBay. The organization broke down how the selling of people has become a revenue source.
“Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe… But a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a backlog of would-be passengers on their hands. So the smugglers become masters, the migrants and refugees become slaves”
The explanation as to why there are so many refugees goes back to the Arab Spring in 2011. After the civil war and chaos, Libya divided into three factions: Tripoli with an internationally backed government, an Islamist conservative government and an anti-Islamist government in the east. With no one agreeing how to run the country as a whole and the resultant infighting, Europe has beco ame the place people are fleeing to.
Stories of people being sold all have underlying themes. Refugees needing to pay smugglers or be sold, and he trauma they have experienced when they finally break free with help of Immigration Officers.
These people are looking for freedom and stability, and instead receive the exact opposite.
CNN reporter Nima Elbagir recounted her experience witnessing a slave trade. “She described one “incredibly surreal moment” in which “the person being sold was concerned about the ramifications of him being sold somewhere and being unable to do his job…Obviously there’s a lot of beatings. There is a lot of duress. But at the same time, I think they ultimately believe that: if I pay off this so-called debt to this smuggler, then I will be allowed to continue our journey.”
But now essentially, people who are running from harm are being taken advantage of, and are being treated as commodities instead. But with CNN exposing these atrocities, now the world knows.
The Libyan Government of National Accord has stated Libya “is going through difficult times which affected its own citizens as well. It is, therefore, not fair to assume responsibility for the consequences of this immigration, which everyone unanimously agreed that addressing this phenomenon exceeds the national capacities,”
Protestors of these horrendous crimes have taken to the streets in Paris and social media with the hashtag #LibyansAgainstSlavery. Several members of the U.N. have stated what is occurring in Libya is “sickening” and “horrifying”. Secretary-General for the U.N. António Guterres said “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.” But even with all this outrage, action to end these terrible events could be slow.
Over 45 million worldwide are victims of slavery right now. In terms of profit, Human Trafficking is ranked as the 3rd largest international crime industry – just behind Drugs and Arms Trafficking. And with all the conflict in Libya and it being the main gateway from Africa to Europe, migrants are extremely vulnerable and easy to exploit.
— M-Lifestyle (@mlifestyleorg) November 29, 2017
Libya has shined a light on what has been happening around the world for decades. Libya is not alone. Taking action is the only option, but ultimately it is up to those running the countries of the world to stand up against the inhumane and unjust treatment of the less fortunate and displaced refugee around the world today.
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