The world has been left shocked over reports of the modern-day slave trade happening in the 21sth century after an International Organization for Migration (IOM) investigation revealed that migrants and refugees seeking to travel to Europe from Libya are being abducted and sold as slaves there.
According to IOM people are being sold as slaves for between $200 and $500. “Migrants are being sold in the market as a commodity,” Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Mission head said. “Selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger and stronger.”
The refugees and migrants – many from Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia – are captured as they head north towards Libya’s Mediterranean coast, where some try to catch boats for Italy.
Most of them are used as day labourers in construction or agriculture. Some are paid but others are forced to work for no money.
Following the revelation the UN is mooting to impose sanctions on those who are involved in the slave trade.
The UN Security Council which held an emergency session on human trafficking in Libya discussed the possibility of sanctions, but the session ended without resolution.
For the past few years, Libya has emerged as the main transit point refugees and migrants from African countries like Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.
But those involved in the slave trade are taking advantage of the power vacuum in the country after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
Currently the power has been split between the UN backed government of national accord in based in capital Benghazi and the Tobruk based government of former Gaddafi commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The power vacuum has turned the country into a hotbed for all kinds of illegal activities including human trafficking.