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African Youth and the Reintroduction of Slavery


A painful scene that was aired in CNN, showing an auction for human beings has been sold in the continent of Africa. In the 21st century we have come back to the abyss of the dark ages again where not only the human dignity was violated, but also the whole humanity, in its worst manifestations.

It was the report of CNN which exposed the crime of selling migrants in Libya in a short video picked up by a mobile phone camera which presented two young men sold at auction to be used as workers on a farm, one of them was from Nigeria aged twenty years old, as the editor of the report pointed out that the two young men were sold for 1,200 Libyan dinars, equivalent to $ 400 per each.

As a result of this report, the network sent a special team to Libya to investigate the authenticity of the video, and to conduct further inquiries. The great shock was that this practice was so common and people were sold in auctions to work in different professions: Traders gathered to pick the most suitable person to "buy" in difference prices according to their qualifications and their built and capability to work! The network found many testimonies and evidences that assures this practice is common in at least eight Libyan cities.

CNN wasn't the first media outlet that refers to what happened to the immigrants in Libya, as The Guardian newspaper reported in April 2017 the sale of African migrants in slave markets in Libya, based on information from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency, as well as Reuters that reported in last May that Libya had become a hub of the slave trade.

Libya is that country torn by conflicts and controlled by militias in the absence of the rule of law and state institutions. Those videos and reports that documents the sale of young Africans in Libya, and were widely circulated in other satellite channels, remind us with the old tales of slavery and the injustices that were practiced against people, especially in Africa that is, although of its independence, still exposed to various types of crimes and violations of human nature, resources, and their rights and dignity.

The continent, throughout its history, was subjected to the ugliest forms of exploitation, but this time it went beyond the wealth and reached the human dignity, especially youth who are the real soul of nations and its fuel, wealth and energy.

It is a tragedy of youth who abandoned their homeland and their families, sold their possessions and borrowed money to immigrate to the unknown fate in Europe; if he survived from drowning he will fall in the hands of merciless gangs, while believing that the hell of Europe is better than the paradise of Africa. But the neo-slavers abrupt their dreams even before it starts, then sold them.

The illegal immigration is a crime by itself, but that shouldn't let us forget the real reason behind it, which is the post-colonial policies of the West that look at Africa as a self-earned heritage from their ancestors and hence it is legitimized to drain and exploit its wealth, while in the same time making a blind eye on the violation of local governments against their population, just because they let the West benefit from that wealth.

Drainage of wealth plus corruption force youth to abandon their countries and leave in a hope for a better life, as they cannot find their daily needs in their homelands. Then the hard decision will be taken: they throw themselves in the vague black holes of oceans and seas, even that what come after will be even more exploitation and humiliations and even rape and more hunger, in their self-embossed exiles; if they ever manage to reach it!

Difficult and serious options:

According to recent reports published by the United Nations (UN), there are many abuses occurring in detention centers in their final destination across the seas, including forced labor, sexual assault and torture, what the UN described as "widespread".

The IOM reported that there are between 700,000 and 1 million migrant off Libya, more than 200,000 among them drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

The crime of illegal immigration is the responsibility of local regimes as well as the international community, as the image is deeper than individual slavery, as whole nations are being sold in the international slavery markets in low prices, as the West look at Africa merely as a source of natural resources that should be looted until its last drop.

The colonization of Africa was not end at their independence, as the western powers left agents behind them to assure more exploitation of their wealth, while their agents continue to loots it by different means of coercion under the banner of cooperation, and what is left will be divided on the indigenous corruption and their gangs and cronies, as will be clearly shown in two articles in this issue, under the titles: "Hazardous Waste in Africa: Dangers and Challenges to Environmental Protection", and "Africa: Between Resource Depletion and Development Challenge ".

We should note that there were many global and regional responses that acted angrily against this phenomenon, where people came out to protest in many countries such as France, and many international organizations condemned this acts, like the IOM, and the President of the commission of the African Union Mussa Muhammad, as he issued a declaration condemning human auctions and described it as "humiliating".

The United Nations expressed its shock, while the Guinean President who is currently the head of the African Union Alpha Conde has also called for prosecutions. The issue was also discussed in the African European Summit that took place in Côte d'Ivoire on 29th and 30th of November at the request of Niger.

Also many of famous Africans figures in literature, art and sport expressed their dissatisfaction with that crime, and the Libyan Unity government said that it opened an investigation into the prevalence of this illegal practice.

But it remains a voice without action, and a pain killer without a real cure to prevent the spread of infection. These endless crimes circumvent the human ability of survival on front of the dangers of hunger, exploitations and looting of their wealth, while they are helplessly forced into the death boats across the sea of lost hope in Africa.