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Charly Boy leads protest against maltreatment of Nigerian migrants

The demonstrators protested against the barbaric selling and buying of Nigerians in Libya.

The leader of the "Our Mumu Don Do" group said their protest was against the barbaric selling and buying of Nigerians in Libya who are being reportedly sold for around N145,000 ($400).

Leader of the "Concerned Nigerians" group, Deji Adeyanju, was also present at the protest.

On Tuesday, November 28, 242 deportees returned to Nigeria from Libya after a CNN investigation uncovered the dehumanising abuse migrants are subjected to.

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How the modern slave trade works in Libya

Libya has been a hotbed for illegal migrants for years now as it serves as the transit hub to the Mediterranean which connects to Europe. Every year, migrants embark on the perilous journey across the sea to escape the economic and/or political uncertainties in their countries of origin.

According to Missing Migrants, an organization that tracks deaths along migratory routes, at least 2,985 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa or the Middle East in 2017 alone.

However, this has not stopped people from trying to make the journey into Europe to seek greener pastures.

A government crackdown on trafficking has resulted in a drastic reduction in boat journeys which means many are trapped in Libya for a long time waiting for their turn to travel. The migrants are mostly held in connecting houses or detention centres that the smugglers control.

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This creates a situation where smugglers are able to exploit the migrants, especially as soon as they run out of money to pay which means they're viewed as properties.

Since most smuggling rings are run by local organised gangs, militias and corrupt security officials in Libya, many victims are trapped in unfamiliar surroundings with captors who are not shy to resort to violent means.

Smugglers are known to blackmail migrants into doing free labour or outrightly selling them to other militias involved in human trafficking. Other times, they hold migrants for ransom and call their families to pay while issuing threats to kill them.

Female migrants are in more danger of being used as sex slaves especially if they don't have anything to pay their captors.

Global outrage

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UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, described the slave auction footage as "the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity."

It has also been condemned by Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig, Guinean President and African Union (AU) Chairman, Alpha Conde, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, and the Senegalese government.

Burkina Faso also recalled its ambassador to Libya with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore demanding information from the Libyan government about the fate of some 30 Burkinabe migrants detained in the camps.

President Muhammadu Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the slave auction in a press statement on Monday, November 20.

She described it as "totally unacceptable, despicable, and inhumane and should be condemned by anyone who is human and has blood running through their veins."

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