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Migrants sold off by smugglers in ‘slave auctions’ in Libya

After viewing footage depicting what appeared to be a slave auction, CNN personnel went undercover in Tripoli in order to verify the authenticity of the footage and the matter. According to CNN’s findings, dozen of migrants were sold off in the span of 6-7 minutes.

The horrific account details how migrants were sold off as diggers or labourers. The migrants were so scared and traumatized that they could not speak, according to CNN, and they were suspicious of everyone they had met. Smugglers often sell migrants in part of “debt repayment”; forcing them to work in order to generate money.

The director of operation and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, Mohammed Abdiker, said that the incoming reports regarding ‘slave markets’ for migrants is yet another concern to add to a “long list of outrages”.

In contrast, the first lieutenant for the #GNA Anti-illegal Immigration Agency in Tripoli , Nazer Hazem, stated that he has not witnessed a slave auction; however, he expressed concern over organized gangs operating smuggling rings in Libya.

CNN has handed over the evidence filmed to Libyan authorities who have “promised to launch an investigation”.

This case comes to light during talks regarding responsibility and international cooperation for addressing the migrant crisis in Libya. Some say that increased restrictions on the Libyan coast guards is exacerbating the crisis by creating a backlog of migrants who are at the mercy of smugglers who can no longer get their boats on route. Yet, Libyan officials argue for the need to combating illegal immigration; adding that the Libyan state is not at a place wherein it can handle external issues.

 

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