The current crisis in Libya, in which hundreds of thousands of migrants are being smuggled and sold in slave auctions, is finally getting global attention after CNN published a report regarding the shocking issue. Video footage showed clips from a live auction, prompting outrage and protests.
A number of musicians, influencers, and politicians have also spoken up on social media, in hopes of bringing more awareness to the issue. While CNN’s report put a spotlight on the terror in Libya, there are still a number of questions unanswered as well as false information circulating. Find out all the basics you need to know below.
1. People are being smuggled into Libya with the hopes of migrating to Europe.
Refugees and migrants—mostly from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Senegal, Gambia, and Sudan—are reportedly being smuggled into Libya by a number of gangs with the promise of a new life in Europe, Al Jazeera reports. Libya is reportedly the main gateway for migration to reach Europe by sea. The United Nations estimates that nearly 150,000 migrants pass through the country in a year.
2. Migrants are being forced into slavery and prostitution rings.
Upon entry into Libya, men and women are sold into prostitution and forced labor. They’re reportedly being sold for prices ranging from $700 to several thousands.
3. There are several slave markets happening at once.
CNN reports that there are at least nine locations across Libya where slave markets take place. The number of slave auctions reportedly increases each month. Some of the auction sites are believed to be controlled by Libya’s Government National Accord, while others reportedly are not.
4. Libya’s conflicting governments put a strain on any resolutions.
Libya is believe to be a failed state. It’s political system is controlled by competing government—the National Transition Council (which is recognized by the UN), and the Khalifa Hafta government—and other political groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq, the Levant group, and al-Qaeda. Each group controls a specific territory with contrasting immigration laws.
5. Deportation centers are full.
In Sept. 2017, officials conducted a raid of the Libyan city, Sabratha, where they rescued thousands of migrants from warehouses and farms. According to CNN, approximately 8,000 migrants were being held in detention centers, awaiting deportation.
6. The UN considered sanctioning guilty parties.
The UN Security Council reportedly held an emergency session earlier this year, in which they were considering sanctions against individuals or groups involving in the auctions and human smuggling, according to Al Jazeera.