This is a video recorded by TV360 Nigeria on the Libya Returnees.
They share their experience.
FOOTAGE released by CNN shows men being sold at an auction in Libya.
The footage shows an auctioneer standing in front of a group of young men, shouting: “Big strong boys for farmwork. 400? 700? 800?”
CNN travelled to Libya to verify the authenticity of the footage. There, they secretly filmed an auction outside the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Referred to as “merchandise”, the men being sold into slavery were migrants and refugees. Twelve Nigerian men were sold at the auction.
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” one salesman said.
“Within minutes it is all over and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, are being handed over to their new ‘masters’,” CNN reported.
CNN was informed of the location of nine auctions. However, “there are believed to be many more”.
In a statement, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) recently recounted the story of an unnamed Senegalese migrant sold into slavery.
According to the IOM, the migrant “described being ‘bought’ and then being brought to his first ‘prison’, a private home where more than 100 migrants were held as hostages”.
“He described dreadful sanitary conditions, and food offered only once per day. Some migrants who couldn’t pay were reportedly killed, or left to starve to death.”
A crackdown on people smuggling by the Libyan coastguard has led to an oversupply of refugee passengers expecting to be smuggled, by boat, into Europe.
The European Union’s decision to tighten its borders, has also contributed to a backlog of migrants and refugees in Libya.
Those stranded in Libya are forced into slavery by people smugglers. According to the UN, there are approximately 700,000 migrants in Libya.
Migrants that become slaves, and are rescued, are generally forced to return home empty-handed.
CNN told the story of a man named Victory, who left Nigeria for Libya, intending to travel to Europe for a better life. Having being sold into slavery in Libya, he was released after his family paid ransom.
He was then held by Libyan authorities, prior to his relocation back to Nigeria. “I’m not happy,” he told CNN. “I go back and start back from square one. It’s very painful. Very painful.”
In a statement, the United Nations has called for “urgent action to end [Libya’s] trade in enslaved people”.
“It is now clear that slavery is an outrageous reality in Libya. The auctions are reminiscent of one of the darkest chapters in human history, when millions of Africans were uprooted, enslaved, trafficked and auctioned to the highest bidder.”
The issue has received international attention, partly due to the influence of star football player Paul Pogba on Instagram.
“There has been a 100-fold increase in interest in this after the simple gesture Pogba made,” head of the IOM’s online communications Itayi Viriri told Goal.
“What it meant was that most people who follow football around the world and the young people who adore these football stars like Pogba had their attention piqued.
“These young stars can mobilise so many young people around the world and get so many people interested in a topic that a few weeks ago no one really knew or cared about.
“Now we are talking about it and that can only be a positive thing.”
And thanks in part to Pogba and his cohorts – and the prominence now given to the slavery question – the AU-EU have pledged to work in unison to end the practice and help lift some of those migrants and refugees trapped in Libya and see them returned to their countries of origin.
“The IOM is currently the only international organisation that is getting sub-Saharan migrants out of Libya back to their countries of origin through the humanitarian voluntary return programme that we are running,” said Viriri.
“So far we have taken out 13,000. We hope to take out another 15,000 before the end of the year which is quite an undertaking.”
French president Emmanuel Macron, on a four-day trip to Francophone African countries last week, confirmed that the Libyan government would assist in identifying the camps where migrants are being detained and will initiate a “transit and departure” facility.