Libya Slave Trade

By Zoe Sansom

“Libya’s Migrant Slaves – CNN Video.” CNN, Cable News Network, 29 Nov. 2017,

Iria, Mwangi Wa. “Libya Slavery Scam: Africa Has Killed Its Own Sun.” Business Today News, 8 Dec. 2017,

The auctioneer shouts, “Big strong boys for farm work. 400? 700? 800?” Sold.

INT-Libyan-Slave-Trade1.pngIn October, 2017, Footage of Nigerian men being swiftly sold at an auction in Libya was released by CNN. Two, tall men stand in the dark with flashlights shon upon them, they stand as still as the walls behind them, awaiting their auction. The man is sold for 1,200 Libyan dinars which is the equivalent of $800.

CNN went to Libya to substantiate the legitimacy of the footage. They then discreetly filmed an auction being held outside the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The refugees and migrants were men being sold into slavery, and were referred to as “merchandise”. “Within minutes it is all over and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, are being handed over to their new ‘masters,’” CNN reported. Twelve Nigerian men lost their freedom and independence.

It is sickening that we live in a world where lives are auctioned for 800 dollars. We might not know it but the reality is that lives are auctioned daily, and we all are guilty for being bystanders to this appalling issue. We all are guilty for the innocent, unfortunate people getting sold off. We all have to stand together and rise to protect the neglected.

CNN published this exclusive report that exposes how migrants are being sold by smugglers. In addition to telling the Libyan authorities, CNN has handed over footage as evidence to the International Criminal Court. Immigration officials could not take any action until now, as before they did not have confirmed evidence of the auctions. The Libyan authorities have now promised a full launched investigation. However does that mean everyone should sit around and do nothing when people are still being sold off as slaves?

The majority of our population anticipates that slavery is not happening in our modern day society. The other part of the population is aware but ignores it, and doesn’t take any action. Wake up everybody! Slavery is a modern day reality in our current world.

Citizens can not only read up on global issues, but can also physically help out and get a hands on experience. Volunteering at local refugee shelters can help people witness what these people are going through and get a glance on what is going on outside their lives. A majority of our population are so consumed in their own personal lives that they are blind to what is happening with the rest of the world and this is an issue that must be altered.

Southeast Asia relies heavily on foreign domestic workers as well as laborers from countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal for jobs to work on plantations and in construction. Southeast Asia has almost two million registered migrant workers, according to government data, but there are also many others who work in the country without permits. Many of the workers are victims of human trafficking and debt bondage, who are paid much less than what they were promised according to CNN. The world having 20.1 million people in debt bondage, 56% within all of Asia.

Refugees are not taken care of and are left vulnerable. When refugees are vulnerable slavery and human rights issues can be violated. Therefore, volunteer work could help prevent the modern slavery that we see today. The more we are involved with our local refugee community, the less chance there is of refugees and migrants being smuggled and potentially sold off into slavery.

There are many non-profit organizations in Kuala Lumpur that we could help at. ISKL provides after school activities such as Chin Cheras that lets the students interact and help the refugee children. Dignity for Children foundation is another foundation that our school does to ameliorate the refugees lives, as we participate and organise the Faisal Cup. Although these activities are available to all the students in ISKL, not enough students are participating. Let’s all come as one to obliterate human trafficking.

In order to abolish human trafficking our community has to do just two minimal things:

  1. Take action and participate in helping out by volunteering at a refugee shelter or even within the activities provided in your local community.
  2. Involve yourself in anything from a small conversation to an organising an event to spread awareness for the population that needs it.

4 thoughts on “Libya Slave Trade

  1. Jordan Johan Alimin

    I really liked the structure of this editorial and how powerful your image was

  2. Sinbald Cheng

    Nice job Zoe, shows a real passion for trying to make things “right”. We have much to do as a society and bringing issues like these to people is a start.

  3. Emily Besley

    This is such an important topic, Zoe! It certainly opened my eyes to a topic about which I was previously unaware (the Libyan slave-trade) and forced to me reflect on my own complacency with regard to human rights issues around the world.

  4. Ms Laws

    I am so glad you brought this to my attention to what is happening now in Libya. Your article was thought-provoking and powerful. There is a good reminder about want I can do in regards to human right violations in my own backyard.

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