Rabat - Libya's 1100-mile coastline has opened up a lucrative market devised for the smuggling of illicit goods, commodities, and, most alarmingly, humans. The soaring “slave market” in the wartorn country has sparked outrage worldwide. To combat this cataclysm the EU and AU will take "concrete military and policing action,” announced the French president, Emmanuel Macron, during the two organization’s joint summit in Abidjan.
Rabat – Libya’s 1100-mile coastline has opened up a lucrative market devised for the smuggling of illicit goods, commodities, and, most alarmingly, humans. The soaring “slave market” in the wartorn country has sparked outrage worldwide. To combat this cataclysm the EU and AU will take “concrete military and policing action,” announced the French president, Emmanuel Macron, during the two organization’s joint summit in Abidjan.
Sold for as little as USD 400, migrants trying to reach Italy through the Libyan coast have spoken of being detained by smugglers and forced to do farm work for minimum wages.
This herculean violation of human rights has received diverse readings.
Libyan citizens, human rights organizations, and the public condemned it. A handful of social media users chose to deal with the matter jokingly, saying that online market would put smugglers out of business. And most significantly, the EU-AU Summit has vowed to take concrete action against the sale of humans.
A declaration will be signed by EU and AU leaders that “[demands] the opening without delay of a thorough, credible, and independent investigation into the alleged sale at auctions of African migrants.”
Wednesday night in the Ivorian capital brought together Morocco, France, Niger, and Chad as well as UN, EU and AU officials, during which the Summit host Ouattara deplored the Libyan slave trade as a “wretched drama which recalls the worst hours of human history.”
King Mohammed VI, the leader of the African Union on the Migration Issue, shares the same concern. “Libya new crossing point between Africa and Europe, has become the corridor of all evils, epitomizing all types of misfortunes,” he said in a message from Abidjan.
Leaders of Libya, France, Germany, Chad, Niger, and Morocco, whose citizens are among the captivated slaves, and other countries “decided on an extreme emergency operation to evacuate from Libya those who want to be,” Macron said on the sidelines of the meeting.
The emergency plan would start “in the coming days or weeks,” he said, adding that the AU will set up a commission of inquiry.
Macron told France 24 that he was not suggesting sending troops to Libya. “It’s not about declaring war, Libya is a state in political transition, but there’s reinforced police action that needs to be done to dismantle those networks.”
Hunting the Beasts of Prey
A human trafficker told Al Jazeera that his “business had augmented by several fold since the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi.” The dictator’s downfall left a power vacuum among rivaling leaders seeking to take his position. This disorder has led the “human slavery business” to thrive.
If proven unsellable, the slaves would be murdered and thrown at the gates of the Sebha health facility in the city of Sebha, south of Tripoli.
Those who died are not identified are buried without names or proper graves, reported Al Jazeera. The camps where the gruesome torture happens have not yet been identified.
The members of the closed AU-EU meeting have obtained the permission of the Libyan president to locate these camps.
“Libya has reaffirmed its agreement to identify camps where scenes of barbarity have been identified. President [Fayez] Sarraj has given his green light for access to be assured,” said Macron.
The mission could lead to the release of 15,000 people out of Libya, he added.
The countries involved will have to send their agents to Tripoli and take retract their citizens. Meanwhile, undocumented migrants will be held until their cases are solved.
“Close cooperation with an operational task force will bring together police and intelligence services to dismantle networks and their funding and to arrest people traffickers,” said the French president.
The meeting also resulted in an announcement that the assets of identified traffickers will be frozen.