Horrifying footage emerges of migrants being auctioned and sold as slaves
Libya sits at the top of Africa, located south of Italy, Turkey and Greece with just the Mediterranean ocean between them. This makes the north-African nation an important stop for migrants fleeing conflict zones in other parts of Africa desperately trying to make it to Europe.
Migrants have flooded the nation in recent years, and the UN estimates there are currently between 700,000 and a million migrants taking refuge there. But for migrants who think they are at the intersection of leaving behind a life of grief and suffering for safety, they've been faced with a different, horrifying reality.
Migrants in Libya are being targeted, beaten, kidnapped and sold as slaves. This sickening reality has been made known to a large part of the Western world after disturbing footage was released as part of a CNN investigative video report showing how "big strong boys for farm work" were being auctioned off as slaves for as little as $400 each.
The video has been widely circulated, igniting global protests in the form of online campaigning using hashtags #LibyansAgainstSlavery and #LibyaSlaveTrade, as well as public demonstrations from cities around the world, including Paris. The horrifying revelation as confirmed by the grainy footage has also been addressed as a priority matter by the UN Secretary-General, who has called on the international community to "unite in fighting this scourge".
After receiving the mobile-recorded footage from a contact in Libya, investigative reporters from CNN traveled there to research the magnitude of the issue. They found that there are 1-2 auctions just like the one captured in the initial video every single month.
Journalists managed to attend one of these auctions just outside of the country's capital, Tripoli, and using hidden cameras, they filmed the proceedings. They described how a dozen men were brought out into a courtyard one by one, before the bidding began.
It was found that the men being auctioned were all Nigerians, described as "strong" and "big", ideal for "farm work" and "digging". But rather than being acknowledged as fellow human beings, the men were simply referred to as "merchandise".
You can watch the full report here:
The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by the UN, said it hopes to address these violations against illegal immigrants. However, the GNA said in an official statement that the problem exceeded their "national capacities" and called on the help of global partners.
"[Libya] is going through difficult times which affected its own citizens as well," the statement read.
"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.
"We affirm again that the practical solution is to address the real reasons that drive people to leave their home countries, treat them and develop final solutions for them."
People all around the world have shown solidarity in fighting to end the shocking reality of human beings being sold as slaves by raising awareness online.
Celebrities including Diddy and Naomi Campbell have also jumped on the cause.
That slavery is still occurring in 2017 is appalling. Absolutely heartbreaking.