A petition created by Constance Mbassi Manga calling for the UK government’s intervention of the Libyan slavery crisis is being heard by parliament in three days’ time after, accumulating over 251,875 signatures.
The petition was created after CNN released video footage of African citizens being sold as slaves across to the Libyan border.
The petition calls for the UK government to “put pressure on the Libyan government to take immediate action to stop these criminals from selling more people, to set current prisoners free, arrest the criminals and end this”, yet the question remains: How much influence does the UK government have over this international humanitarian crisis?
Whilst no media outlets are denying the authenticity of the video footage that was leaked by CNN after their undercover investigation to Tripoli last month, many social media users are criticising the release of photos online of the Libyan civil war being passed off as being taken earlier this year. In spite of this the matter remains, what can western governments do to support the Libyan government in its trafficking war with Nigeria: making the cause of the event all the more visible.
Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the fractured Libyan, the collapse of the economy, folding of oil production have contributed to the government’s failure to handle the influx of refugees since 2011.
On average per year, more than 150,000 migrants and refugees attempted to migrate to Europe. Those that didn’t die were sent back by Europe branded as migrants rather than the asylum seekers they were, and those that didn’t get that far are now stuck in their own living hell. The UN estimates 700,000 to be exact. Living in hostile conditions, where they are the targets of human traffickers, rapists and murderers.
Ironically, precisely the victims of what western tabloidisation branded them as being, pre-Brexit polls.
This exponential influx of bodies from Nigeria to Libya has resulted in these individuals being utilised by hostile gangs as a cheap currency to labourers or worse, as CNN documented with concealed cameras, sold off to the highest bidder in the black market.
CNN’S report saw ‘dozens of people’ go ‘under the hammer’ within minutes however its report findings only showed men being sold in terms of slavery, which begs the question. Where are the women? And why are Libyan gangs advertising men as a commodity whilst they keep sex trafficking so hushed? The difference being: the buyers of men as farm workers are of African heritage, whereas the buyers of women once in the dark web of the sex trafficking industry, could be anywhere in the world: given the appropriate means of concealment and transport.
Whilst this humanitarian crisis has been condemned by the UN there has been no illusion to what the UN’s action at intervention would encompass and whilst the UK government issued £9m in aid packages to Tripoli, what will its official reaction to this petition be? Stay tuned, we will find out in 72 hours.
You can sign the petition below: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/205476