Sunday, November 18News For London

London Stands Up Against Migrant Slave Trade

Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of London to protest against the slave trade in Libya.

The African Lives Matter banner leads the march to the Libyan embassy. (Photo: Katt Adachi)

Exploitation of migrants and refugees in Libya received international attention after a video was surfaced online of what looked like to be men being sold at auction. The world had just witnessed modern day slavery in the north African country.  

CNN went to Libya to conduct an investigation to find out what was happening to the migrants and refugees. What they found was shocking—hundreds of people were being auctioned and sold for manual labour, for a price point starting at $100 USD– about £75.

Thousands of Londoners took to the streets to march against the current crisis in Libya, chanting phrases like “no more slavery” and “slavery must end” as cars honked in traffic due to the congestion of demonstrators passing by. On Saturday, Londoners became the voice for the people still stuck in the detention camps.  

The march was organised by AfricanLivesMatter.org. There will be another demonstration on the 18th of December while Parliament debates a petition calling for the UK government to put pressure on Libya.

Photo gallery: Katt Adachi

Currently, there are over 430,000 migrants in Libya. With such a high number of displaced people in the north African nation, Libya is a sea of terror with reports of murder, robbery, and rapes.

 

Many migrants have died trying to reach Europe. Abrham is one of the migrants that managed to escape Libya. He was detained along with hundreds of other people and put in a detention camp, where he dealt with daily abuse. As he is now an activist working to denounce human trafficking, we are protecting his identity from those who may threaten his life. Here, he gives us his story of what it was like to be detained:

The march in London was inspired by the one that took place in Paris two weeks ago. Paris was the first city to take a stand and march against what is happening in Libya.

Nandi Drame, who studies economics at La Sorbonne, attended the march in Paris: “I wanted to go because I felt very concerned by the cause. If I had been born in a different place and in a different family, it could have been me in those conditions because of the colour of my skin. This said, everyone should feel concerned, not just Africans or black people and no one should ignore this issue. It is insane that in 2017 we are still speaking about slavery. No one should be sold or exploited.”

Drame thinks that the Libyan government and international community should do something: “They have to act, investigate to make sure this stops and never happens again. I definitely think the march in Paris inspired the others that have taken place. Other African presidents who knew what was going on were silent until the CNN report. We cannot wait for Europe to do or say something, the rest of Africa must act. They now have to put pressure on the Libyan government because the report by CNN showed the world what was going on.”

Five thousand people gathered in Paris to march against the Libyan slave trade (Photo: Nandi Drame)

Last Wednesday, European and African leaders met in Ivory Coast to discuss the issue. The summit, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, devised a plan to help evacuate the thousands of people who were imprisoned in Libyan detention camps.

Emergency meetings have proposed that the plan is to fly out 15,000 migrants from Libya and to take them back to their home countries. The rest will be placed into a transit centre, where they should be safely housed and then later settled in a different country.