With no money and no documents, West African refugees find themselves vulnerable to enslavement.
Public slave markets are parting out human beings from West Africa for up to $500 with some being held for ransom while others are forced into labor roles or are sexually exploited.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) spoke to African migrants who recounted their experiences of being bought and sold in garages and parking lots in the southern city of Sabha, one of Libya’s main migrant smuggling hubs.
Migrants are typically traded for as little as $200 to $500, and are held for an average of two to three months, Othman Belbeisi, the head of the IOM’s Libya mission, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.
“Migrants are being sold in the market as a commodity,” Belbeisi remarked, “Selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger and stronger.”
Armed networks round up the individuals and facilitate the eventual enslavement. Once purchased the usual route for a modern day slave ends with becoming a day laborer working in agriculture or construction.
As migrants continue to pour into Europe – with no sign of stopping anytime soon – the danger now is in keeping your nation safe from this mass exodus of displaced people.