Our Voices Carry
CNN recently released footage of young men from sub-Saharan Africa being auctioned off like cattle into slave markets.
This has been an ongoing issue for years (since the early 2000’s), and unfortunately isn’t a unique issue, despite how infuriating and senseless it is. But what’s even more infuriating is that the International Organization for Migration released this information in April, explaining that slave auctions were occurring throughout the country, and it is just now gaining major, explosive international recognition and popularity.
How Did This Happen?
Libya has been known as the transit place for migrants attempting to travel to Europe in search of a better life.
“Shortly after the death of former Prime Minister Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, political power in Libya has been split between three governments, according to the European Council of Foreign Relations, leaving room for smuggling networks to develop throughout the country.”
“Since the political conflict began, more than 150,000 migrants and refugees have crossed over to Europe each of the last three years, the IMO reported, and up to a million migrants are estimated to be in the country.”
Leonard Doyle, Media and Communication Director for the International Organization of Migration, told Al Jazeera that vulnerable migrants are being thrust into “an extortion machine.”
They are robbed of their possessions, their families are called. They are forced, they are tortured, they give them money. And then they are sold. Unbelievable, but they are sold in open, public auctions: $400 for a laboring man, maybe a bit more for a woman who can be put in the sex trade. And this is what’s happening across the country. – Bustle
There are petitions floating around the internet, urging people to sign in hopes that it will put enough pressure on the government to take immediate action to stop what’s been happening. That’s where we are now, as a group. We have to urge those in power to end people from being sold for as low as $300 (that we know of), into slavery.
Where does the pain end? Better yet, where does it even start? Pinpointing one international issue doesn’t demolish every other issue that’s happening in the world. The UN knew about this. The EU knew about this. Our presidential officials knew about this. We’re signing petitions in hopes of persuading the United Nations and the Libyan Government to make Libya a priority, as if they haven’t been aware of this tragedy already.
How could this have been happening for years, but we are only now paying attention? Donald Trump’s tweets of “fake news” regarding the situation only diminish this serious epidemic of people being sold, murdered, and tortured. And all the while, human life is, has, and continues to be cheapened, sold for labor and sexual exploitation.
United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Accord, or GNA stated,
“Libya is going through difficult times which affected its own citizens as well. It is, therefore, not fair to assume responsibility for the consequences of this immigration, which everyone unanimously agreed that addressing this phenomenon exceeds the national capacities.”
Donald Trump’s tweets have resulted in a potential investigation of CNN’s allegations and questioning their credibility.
This has caused Libya to take lead on his implications and discredit the slave trade report, despite Trump’s unprofessional and irresponsible actions that show a lack of credibility by sharing his strong political statements via Twitter.
This just proves that everything you say matters, and can have a large impact.
We are powerful. We have control over our freedom of speech, which is a privilege and responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We have the ability to spread awareness and stand up for those who can’t defend themselves. It feels like an ongoing battle, but we aren’t allowed to complain. We can’t. There are people hurting who don’t have the honor of being able to say “I need a break.”
This is happening, and we cannot afford to turn a blind eye because this is our reality. What are we going to do about it?
Written by Teresa Johnson