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Libyan 'slave markets' sees African migrants 'sold' for $400

African migrants have been sold in markets, according to US media [AFP-file photo]

Date of publication: 15 November, 2017

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A network of 'slave markets' in Libya have been uncovered by US media, showing African migrants held captive by people smugglers being sold for hundreds of dollars.

African migrants are being sold at a network of Libyan "slave markets" for just a few hundred dollars, an investigation by media outlet CNN has uncovered.

A video by the network shows men brought before crowds, said to be situated in north and west of Libya and "auctioned off" for agriculture work.

The scenes are reminiscent of those in the darkest days of human history.

One man in the video says he has "big strong boys for farm work", as a Nigerian migrant is led forward and sold for around $800.

CNN went to a town where one or two such auctions are said to take place each week, and with hidden cameras they explored a slave market.

Bidding begins for the sale of the human beings in a dimly lit square late at night. Twelve men are sold, referred to by the "auctioneers" in Arabic as "merchandise".

It highlights the tragic end for many of these African migrants who have sold everything and crossed thousands of miles from their homes in Niger, Mali, Nigeria hoping for a better life in Europe.

When they reach Africa's northern coast many it appears have been held captive by the people smugglers and sold as slaves in markets in Libya.

Freed African men told the journalist they too had been sold and forced to work as labourers with no payment and little food, while beatings were routine.

Many of them have been freed from people smugglers by Libyan authorities and will be returned to their home countries.

It comes after European authorities clamped down of cross-Mediterranean migration leaving people smugglers with hundreds of migrants in their hands.

With nowhere to go, they were held by their captors in warehouses with barely enough food and water to survive. Others have been sold off in auctions.

Libyan coastguards have been given support by European countries to helped stem the flow of migration from Africa to Europe leading to a sharp drop in refugees reaching safe shores.

Many of the migrants are being held in appalling detention centres by Libyan authorities until they are repatriated home.

They will undoubtedly risk their lives again to reach Europe regardless of the obstacles in their way.

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