The closing of both ends of the Mediterranean crossing into Europe has left a large group of African immigrants hoping to make the cross stuck in Libya, a war-torn country that is without leadership since the violent fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the dictator that ruled the country with an iron fist for 42 years until his own people brutally murdered him in the battle of Sirte.
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vaLyD1b1e9A" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Ever since then, it is pretty much every man for himself. The oil stopped flowing, and ISIS has different strongholds already. Mix all that in with a large group of migrants from all over Africa arriving in the port cities of Libya and you get …. slave auctions.
Yes, slave auctions, like the one you saw last time in ‘Twelve Years A Slave’, the Oscar-winning film by director Steve McQueen, or the slave auctions that you read about in ‘Uncle Tom's Cabin’
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j5Oo21chusE" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
"The situation is dire," Mr Mohammed Abdiker, Director of operation and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, claims after returning from the Libyan capital of Tripoli: "Some reports are truly horrifying and the latest reports of 'slave markets' for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages."
Women are forced to become sex slaves while men become manual laborers.
Most of the immigrants stuck in Libya have whatever little possessions they own in order to finance the journey through Libya to the coast. But because of the recent deal between the Libyan coastguard and the European Union, fewer boats are making it out to sea, which leaves the smugglers and the slave traders with a large group of potential people with nothing left to lose.
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/92iEL6k5E6o" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
And thus, smugglers become masters, migrants and refugees become slaves. For $400 to $500 you can buy any of them.
The UN’s migration agency has known about this for a while now, but the topic does not make for great coverage in the European press, as most citizens do not want to be reminded what they are exchanging for having fewer migrants on their territory. The fact that Europe is now closed still hasn’t reached the villages of dark Africa so far, so they continue to head to Libya.