Noten 10 en 11/Astrid Essed klaagt aan





11 APRIL 2017

Op slavenmarkten in Niger en Libië worden vluchtelingen gekocht en verkocht. De Internationale Organisatie voor Migratie (IOM) trekt daarover de noodklok in Genève. Mensensmokkelaars drijven handel met honderden mensen, voor bedragen variërend van 200 tot 500 dollar. De slachtoffers worden maandenlang vastgehouden en gedwongen tot dwangarbeid. Niet in de laatste plaats worden ze ingezet als seksslaven of prostituees, aldus Othman Belbeisi. Belbeisi leidt de operaties van het VN-agentschap in Libië.

Libië is één van de belangrijkste vertrekplaatsen voor Afrikanen die de Middellandse Zee willen oversteken naar Europa. Het IOM heeft getuigenissen van vluchtelingen verzameld die Libië probeerden te bereiken. Ontvoerders zouden hen geld hebben afgeperst en hen hebben gefolterd. Ook zouden ze zijn gedwongen familie op te bellen om losgeld te vragen. Anderen getuigen gedwongen te zijn om op slavenmarkten te werken, of om plaatsen met losgeld te bewaken. Zij die er niet in slagen om het geld bijeen te krijgen, sterven de hongerdood. Zo behandelde een IOM-dokter een Gambiaan die nog maar 35 kilo woog.





11 APRIL 2017

Hundreds of African refugees and migrants passing through Libya are being bought and sold in modern-day slave markets before being held for ransom or used as forced labour or for sexual exploitation, survivors have told the UN’s migration agency.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday that it had interviewed West African migrants who recounted being traded in garages and car parks in the southern city of Sabha, one of Libya’s main people-smuggling centres.

People are bought for between $200 and $500 and are held on average for two to three months, Othman Belbeisi, head of the IOM’s Libya mission, said in Geneva.

“Migrants are being sold in the market as a commodity,” he said. “Selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger and stronger.”

The refugees and migrants – many from Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia – are captured as they head north towards Libya’s Mediterranean coast, where some try to catch boats for Italy.

Along the way, they are prey to an array of armed groups and people-smuggling networks that often try to extort extra money in exchange for allowing them to continue.

Most of them are used as day labourers in construction or agriculture. Some are paid but others are forced to work for no money.


“Over the past few days, I have discussed these stories with several who told me horrible stories.

“They all confirmed the risks of been sold as slaves in squares or garages in Sabha, either by their drivers or by locals who recruit the migrants for daily jobs in town, often in construction, and later, instead of paying them, sell their victims to new buyers.

“Some migrants – mostly Nigerians, Ghanaians and Gambians – are forced to work for the kidnappers/slave traders as guards in the ransom houses or in the ‘market’ itself.”

IOM Niger staffer

“About women, we heard a lot about bad treatment, rape and being forced into prostitution,” Belbeisi said.

The IOM said it had spoken to one Senegalese migrant who was held in a Libyan’s private house in Sabha with about 100 others, who were beaten as they called their families to ask for money for their captors.

He was then bought by another Libyan, who set a new price for his release.

Some of those who cannot pay their captors are reportedly killed or left to starve to death, the IOM said. When migrants die or are released, others are purchased to replace them.

Valley of tears’

The agency said migrants are buried without being identified, with families back home uncertain of their fate.

“The situation is dire,” Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s director of operations and emergencies, who recently returned from a visit to  Libya’s capital, Tripoli, said in a statement, calling Libya a “valley of tears” for many refugees and migrants.

“What we know is that migrants who fall into the hands of smugglers face systematic malnutrition, sexual abuse and even murder,” he added.

“Last year we learned 14 migrants died in a single month in one of those locations, just from disease and malnutrition. We are hearing about mass graves in the desert.”

To warn potential migrants, the IOM is spreading testimonies of victims through social media and local radio stations.

Libya is the main gateway for people attempting to reach Europe by sea, with more than 150,000 people making the crossing in each of the past three years.

So far this year an estimated 26,886 migrants have crossed to Italy, over 7,000 more than during the same period in 2016.

More than 600 are known to have died at sea, while an unknown number perish during their journey north through the desert.





14 NOVEMBER 2017

In Libië worden Afrikaanse vluchtelingen tot slaaf gemaakt en verkocht. Dat bericht kwam in april van dit jaar al naar buiten nadat de Internationale Organisatie voor Migratie (IOM) de noodklok luidde. Nu heeft CNN daar ook beelden van, in het geheim met mobiele telefoons opgenomen.

Nadat bekend werd dat in Libië, en ook in Niger, slavenmarkten bestonden, ging CNN op onderzoek uit en vond zo’n markt net buiten hoofdstad Tripoli. Binnen zes à zeven minuten, zag CNN een tiental mensen ‘onder de hamer’ gaan.

De videobeelden zijn overgedragen aan de Libische autoriteiten, die hebben toegezegd een onderzoek te starten. Of dat wat uithaalt, is nog maar de vraag. Een leidinggevende van het Libische anti-immigratiebureau erkent van het bestaan van de slavenmarkten te weten, hoewel hij zegt er zelf nooit een te hebben gezien.

Binnen de Europese Unie wordt al langere tijd gesproken over een vluchtelingendeal met Libië, gelijk aan de bestaande deal met Turkije. Het toestaan van zo’n deal was volgens bronnen rond de kabinetsformatie een van de breekpunten voor toenmalig coalitiekandidaat GroenLinks. In september  kwam het nieuws naar buiten dat de Italiaanse geheime dienst een deal had gesloten met mensensmokkelaars in Libië om vluchtelingen, tegen alle vluchtelingenverdragen in en met alle gevolgen van dien, ervan te weerhouden de reis naar Europa te ondernemen.

Let op: de beelden kunnen als schokkend worden ervaren




15 NOVEMBER 2017

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) – “Eight hundred,” says the auctioneer. “900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …” Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars – the equivalent of $800.

Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not “merchandise” at all, but two human beings.

One of the unidentified men being sold in the grainy cell phone video obtained by CNN is Nigerian. He appears to be in his twenties and is wearing a pale shirt and sweatpants.

He has been offered up for sale as one of a group of “big strong boys for farm work,” according to the auctioneer, who remains off camera. Only his hand – resting proprietorially on the man’s shoulder – is visible in the brief clip.

After seeing footage of this slave auction, CNN worked to verify its authenticity and traveled to Libya to investigate further.

Carrying concealed cameras into a property outside the capital of Tripoli last month, we witness a dozen people go “under the hammer” in the space of six or seven minutes.

“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” the salesman, dressed in camouflage gear, says. “What am I bid, what am I bid?”

Buyers raise their hands as the price rises, “500, 550, 600, 650 …” Within minutes it is all over and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, are being handed over to their new “masters.”

After the auction, we met two of the men who had been sold. They were so traumatized by what they’d been through that they could not speak, and so scared that they were suspicious of everyone they met.

Crackdown on smugglers

Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe.

Most have sold everything they own to finance the journey through Libya to the coast and the gateway to the Mediterranean.

But a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a backlog of would-be passengers on their hands.

So the smugglers become masters, the migrants and refugees become slaves.

Watch full documentary: Libya’s migrant slave trade

The evidence filmed by CNN has now been handed over to the Libyan authorities, who have promised to launch an investigation.

First Lieutenant Naser Hazam of the government’s Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tripoli told CNN that although he had not witnessed a slave auction, he 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,” Hazam says. “(The smuggler) does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea.”

“The situation is dire,” Mohammed Abdiker, the director of operation and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, said in a statement after returning from Tripoli in April. “Some reports are truly horrifying and the latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages.”

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.

But inside the slave auctions it’s like we’ve stepped back in time. The only thing missing is the shackles around the migrants’ wrists and ankles.

Deportation ‘back to square one’

Anes Alazabi is a supervisor at a detention center in Tripoli for migrants that are due to be deported. He says he’s heard “a lot of stories” about the abuse carried out by smugglers.

“I’m suffering for them. What I have seen here daily, believe me, it makes me feel pain for them,” he says. “Every day I can hear a new story from people. You have to listen to all of them. It’s their right to deliver their voices.”

One of the detained migrants, a young man named Victory, says he was sold at a slave auction. Tired of the rampant corruption in Nigeria’s Edo state, the 21-year-old fled home and spent a year and four months – and his life savings – trying to reach Europe.

He made it as far as Libya, where he says he and other would-be migrants were held in grim living conditions, deprived of food, abused and mistreated by their captors.

“If you look at most of the people here, if you check your bodies, you see the marks. They are beaten, mutilated.”

When his funds ran out, Victory was sold as a day laborer by his smugglers, who told him that the profit made from the transactions would serve to reduce his debt. But after weeks of being forced to work, Victory was told the money he’d been bought for wasn’t enough. He was returned to his smugglers, only to be re-sold several more times.

The smugglers also demanded ransom payments from Victory’s family before eventually releasing him.

“I spent a million-plus [Nigerian naira, or $2,780],” he tells CNN from the detention center, where he is waiting to be sent back to Nigeria. “My mother even went to a couple villages, borrowing money from different couriers to save my life.”

As the route through north Africa becomes increasingly fraught, many migrants have relinquished their dreams of ever reaching European shores. This year, more than 8,800 individuals have opted to voluntarily return home on repatriation flights organized by the IOM.

Opinion: Abuse of migrants in Libya is a blot on world’s conscience

While many of his friends from Nigeria have made it to Europe, Victory is resigned to returning home empty-handed.

“I could not make it, but I thank God for the life of those that make it,” he says.

“I’m not happy,” he adds. “I go back and start back from square one. It’s very painful. Very painful.”

CNN’s Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Byron Manley, Henrik Pettersson, Mark Oliver, Muhammad Darwish and Edward Kiernan contributed to this report.




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