When one looks at Libya today, a vivid view of the Trans Saharan and Trans-Atlantic Slave Trading systems immediately come to mine.
Two or so centuries after the abolition of this inhuman and horrific practice; a practice which has continued in different forms, it is heartbreaking that we continue to witness what happened in the 17th century repeating itself today in similar fashion. This is a blow to human development and civilization.
The year 2011 which saw the conspiracy killing of Colonel Gaddafi following the Arab Spring has created the modern day slavery and slave trade situation we have in Libya today. While economic hardship, political persecution and social unrest in most Sub Saharan countries have helped provided the slaves needed for sale by dealers in the trade. The diminishing love for nationhood triggered by despotic and tyrannical power mongers in the name country leaders have forced many young Africans to see their future only possible in Europe and America. while Francophone Africa blames France in toto for economic stagnation and political manipulation, the case of Anglophone Africa is yet a pitty
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) disclosed in April that it had gathered evidence of slavery in Libya. According to Unicef, the slaves being sold in Libya are migrants originating from sub-Saharan African countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Guinea, Egypt, and Mali
Gaddafi’s death created a power vacuum that has plunged the country into chaos as there is no overarching authority to maintain law and order in Libya. One country, three governments; this is what has made the country volatile and practically unstable with all sorts of ramifications. Amongst is the easy movement of Sub Saharan Africans who want to enter Europe at all cost through the country which serves as a gateway thus, the prevailing slavery situation.
With more than 700, 000 to 1 million migrants present in Libya today of which more than 2000 have died this year, a drastic solution and an immediate global intervention cannot be overemphasized. According to CNN report by Nima Elbagir, some migrants are sold out for as low as $400 by smugglers who manage large concentration camps.
Risking it all across the Sahara desert and getting to Libya has only ended many in worse conditions where they are stocked in warehouses and sold for chicken change talk not of the inhuman treatment they are subjected to while in these warehouses where forced labor, sexual abuse, torture and other bad treatments with consequent psychological breakdowns are common.
Luckily, the CNN report has attracted widespread condemnation ranging from commoners to African celebrities and this has pushed Libyan authorities in Tripoli to launch investigations into these slave dealings and they may likely be receiving assistance from the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
The AU chairman, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, had warned the perpetrators of this despicable trade and has demanded ensued prosecutions “These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Mr. Conde said. This initiative has been supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) based in Geneva which has cautioned investigators of the dangers that will be involved given that smugglers are getting more organized and stronger.
It is our understanding at Africaninfolook that those who share the blame for this situation are many and thus we call on the investigators to widen their scope and forward their findings to the International Criminal Court (ICJ) for culprits to be judged and meted the sanctions they deserve.