A new report has emerged detailing how Nigerian and other African immigrants are sold as slaves for a mere $400 in North Africa.
According to the documentary that was run by the CNN, the thriving slave market is a well-organized syndicate where the male immigrants are sold to work in farms and mines while the ladies are sold as sex slaves.
The report corroborates an earlier statement released by IOM in April 2017, after an intensive and underground investigation.
The IOM statement had posited that its staff in the Niger Republic and Libya documented the shocking events on North African migrant routes, which they have described as slave markets tormenting hundreds of young Africans desperate to get to Europe through Libya.
According to IOM's Director of Operations and Emergency, Mohammed Abdiker, the situation is so dire, adding that 'some reports are truly horrifying and the latest reports of slave markets for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages.'
The statement added that IOM Libya learned of other kidnapping cases like those IOM Niger has knowledge of.
CNN reporters who also participated in the investigations in Tripoli, the Libyan capital while armed with concealed cameras, revealed that about a dozen people were auctioned in the space of six or seven minutes.
One of the traders dressed in a camouflage gear and holding a man was reported to have said:
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig. What am I bid, what am I bid?”
Ready buyers were said to have raised their hands as the price rose:
“500, 550, 600, 650. And within minutes, the deals were concluded and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, were being handed over to their new masters,” CNN adds.
The video evidence has been handed over to Libyan authorities who are currently carrying out a clampdown on smugglers.
An official with Libya’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency, First Lieutenant Naser Hazam, told CNN that he has not witnessed a slave auction, but acknowledged that organized gangs are operating smuggling rings in the country.
“They fill a boat with 100 people; those people may or may not make it. The smuggler does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea,” Hazam told the CNN reporters.
CNN added in its reports:
“The auctions take place in a seemingly normal town in Libya filled with people leading regular lives. Children play in the street; people go to work, talk to friends and cook dinners for their families.”
The migrants, when intercepted, are taken to detention camps from where they would be deported to their various their countries.
One of the immigrants in the detention camps who was interviewed, a 21-year-old Nigerian man identified as Victory, said he left his hometown in Edo State and had spent more than N1 million and 16 months trying to reach Europe before he was captured and sold at a slave auction.
He said he could only get to Libya in his Europe quest, adding that he and other migrants were deprived of food, abused and mistreated by their captors.
“If you look at most of the people here, if you check their bodies, you will see the marks. They are beaten, mutilated,” he said.
Victory added that when his money ran out, his smugglers sold him as a day labourer, saying that the profit made from the transactions would serve to reduce his debt.
He added that after being forced to work for weeks, Victory said he was told the money he’d been bought for wasn’t enough. He was then returned to his smugglers who then sold him to more buyers.
The smugglers, he said, also demanded money from his family in Nigeria before they eventually released him.
“My mother even went to a couple villages, borrowing money from different couriers to save my life.
I could not make it to Europe, but I thank God for the life of those that made it. I’m not happy. I will go back home and start back from square one. It’s very painful. Very painful,” Victory concluded.
Watch the documentary here: