By Emma Lomax
$400 dollars sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? I asked girls within the Assumption community how they would spend $400, and the results were as you would expect. The answers included saving it for the future, spending it on others, and treating themselves. This was a lot of money to the students I asked, but truly, the items we live and thrive off cost more than this. $400 can’t buy you a car, but in Libya, it can buy you a human being.
A team of CNN employees saw a group of 12 men being sold for as little as $400 on their trip to Libya and found that these auctions occur in nine other places throughout the country. The slaves are migrants to Libya, all black, and are sold by smugglers. The auctions aren’t government controlled and when the CNN team told the Libyan government of the transactions, they launched an investigation. Although action is being taken by the government, organizations that support the investigation have warned them that, “the smuggling networks are becoming stronger, more organized, and better equipped.”
These slave auctions have caused riots throughout the world. In Paris, France, protestors stood outside the Libyan Embassy and spoke against the auctions and even pushed authorities to take faster action. Listening to their people’s protests, France planned a meeting with the UN Security Council on the handling of the migrants. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, wants to ensure punishments will be distributed so they focused on that during their meeting. In result, the council decided on holding human trafficking enforcers responsible for their actions in Libya. A plan to stop slavery was also assumed. Other political leaders have vowed to help Libya with their situation like Alpha Conde, the president of the African Union, and Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief of the European Union.
Libya also spoke out on how they were planning on handling the trade. While Libya’s GNA, Government of National Accord, does want to avenge the sufferings against the migrants, they also think that countries internationally should admit they are at fault as well. Libyan authorities are working with the Nigerian authorities in hopes to quickly return the migrants back to their home countries.
Along with people of political authority, celebrities are standing against Libya’s slave trade. Paul Pogba, a soccer player for Manchester United, celebrated his third goal, during a game against Newcastle United, with an odd gesture symbolizing handcuffs. He admitted that he offered up this gesture to commend the migrants suffering from the slavery in Libya.
Most recently, the chairman of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, says that the migrant slave trade was most likely caused by the chaos Libya faced after Moammar Gadhafi was thrown out of power. Therefore, this horrific act against humanity is a “shared responsibility” by all of Libya.