Ending modern day slavery in Libya should be a priority

by Kemi Giwa, Staff Writer

Last month CNN released footage that uncovered a slave trade in Libya — a video that shows smugglers selling off a dozen men outside the capital of Tripoli.

According to aid and migrant workers, slavery in Libya is not a new phenomenon. It has gone on for years, with smugglers selling off men and women for as little as $400.

People leave their countries for better economic opportunities. In this case, Africans from south of the Sahara are escaping countries plagued with poverty, unemployment and violence, the answer to better conditions leads them to travel to Europe. Ever since the fall of ex-Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been ravaged with instability. The result of a failed state has made Libya the main transit point for refugees and migrants — where they are murdered, raped or sold.

This is reminiscent of the most grueling chapter in human history, 400 years of American slavery — when black men, women and kids were beaten, raped, killed and sold for free labor.

Many media outlets have listed ways for individuals to help put an end to the slave trade in Libya, and there are a few viable options for students.

Hold the United Nations accountable. Call them out, and make sure the U.S. and U.N. are effectively investigating and condemning the slave trade. Social media is an effective platform for this option. But, personally contacting the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, and encouraging her to prioritize the end of the slave trade in Libya would help as well.

Use Twitter. Utilize hashtags, retweet videos and connect with those in governmental positions.

Donate to anti-slavery organizations such as Anti-Slavery International or Free the Slaves. You can also support broader efforts that combat the root causes of slavery — the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Refugee Agency.

If you don’t have the money to donate, you can at least control where your money is going.

Shop slave free, and hold businesses accountable. Often times we unintentionally contribute to a crisis through our purchases. Visit this slave-free shopping guide. This guide identifies companies which seek to prevent the use of slave labor in production.

You can help end modern day slavery.