The Slave Trade in Libya; Get Involved Now

Leaving Niger, Mohammed hoped for a better life – what awaited him was something most of us only see in history textbooks. Photo and information retrieved from NPR. Photo by Ruth Sherlock

Libya is a country located in North Africa that is currently home to over six million people. Though it was once a glorified point of transit for refugees and migrants to reach Europe, it has now become an extremely dangerous area that is to be avoided. With overrun detention centres and over-flooding reports of rape, murder, robbery, and abuse, it has become a horrific reality that the United Nations estimates 400,000 to one million migrants are victims of. The trip to Libya is just as horrible and gruesome; the International Organization for Migration has reported that for four years in a row, over 3000 people have died on their journey. For the longest time, Libya had been viewed as a place to escape poverty and live a better life, but now, many individuals place themselves at risk of being victims of the Libyan slave trade without realizing it.

Often, smugglers deceive migrants. Instead of leading them to a safe passage to Europe as initially promised, they trick them into becoming in debt to them or simply kidnap them. From there, migrants become victims of slave markets where they are auctioned off, purchased, abused, and then murdered when they are no longer seen as useful. In 2017, CNN released a video revealing what appeared to be men being auctioned off as slaves in Libya. The video showed them being degraded and treated as objects where they were then sold and bought for $400. It is believed that many end up working as labourers for global commercial production. The slave trade in Libya has been long and horrifying and appears to only be getting worse with time, as the International Organization for Migration has reported a growing number of slave markets across the route to Libya.

Currently, the UN-backed Libyan government has been investigating the allegations, but it has not been the most successful process. Ever since Muammar Gaddafi, who led the country for 40 years, was ousted, the country has been in a civil war. The government has failed to implement a rule of law leading to military, tribes, and gangs overrunning the lawless country. These groups have also been a contributing factor to the rise of slave markets. In order to resolve the current humanitarian crisis, there is no doubt that international assistance is required. Many embassies across Europe and Africa have already stepped in to assist in helping to end the violations of human rights currently taking place in Libya. In 2017, many African and European leaders met together in a summit and discussed an evacuation plan to help as much as 15,000 people get flown out of Libya. Through their help, many were able escape their horrific living conditions, but still many are in urgent need of assistance.

By staying informed, signing petitions, and donating, you can make an impact in helping ending the slave trade in Libya.


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