The Resurgence of Black Enslavement in Libya
Source: CNN/YouTube (November 2017)
As a byproduct of ongoing trans-Mediterranean mass migration by sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees, human trafficking in Libya has surged as smugglers extort and exploit migrants in search of passage to Europe. Reports of imprisonment, forced labor, human markets, financial extortion, physical abuse, and the denial of access to basic necessities like food and water involving black African migrants tell the tale of lawlessness and extreme vulnerability in the war-torn country.
With the E.U. pushing the largely disempowered Libyan government to crack down on migrants using its coast as a point of departure for Europe, poorly run detention centers have sprung up with little oversight to prevent migrants from attempting the trans-Mediterranean passage (where more than 10,000 have died since 2014). Corruption among detention officials, inertia in the repatriation process, and poor international coordination have resulted in some of the detained being leased out for day labor or sold to work on farms and in businesses instead of returned to their countries of origin. Global outrage has led to emergency meetings in multiple international organizations, but a long-term solution to the crisis remains elusive.
“Slavery in Libya: Life inside a container” (Al Jazeera | January 2018)
“Migrant slavery in Libya: Nigerians tell of being used as slaves” (BBC News | January 2018)
“IOM Learns of ‘Slave Market’ Conditions Endangering Migrants in North Africa” (International Organization for Migration | April 2017)
Libya slavery scandal overshadows EU-Africa summit (Al Jazeera | November 2017)
‘Slave markets’ in Libya trap migrants heading for Europe (euronews, via YouTube | April 2017)
Libya’s Migrant Trade (VICE News | September 2015)