Why can’t the African Union just shut down Libya’s slave markets?

Horrific sights of photos and videos of African migrants being sold off like objects in Libya’s modern day slave markets would churn your stomach and stir your inquisitive mind on what efforts the African Union has made to close down these inhumane “auction” sites.

Slavery is evil; it’s a cancer which must be dissected from the fabrics of every modern society.


Idriss Déby, who has been the President of Chad Republic (since 1990) and former Chairman of AU’s General Assembly, needs to understand that there’s global anger towards the organization for its seeming lackluster, incompetent and irresponsible leadership.

Nobody, no matter the class, race, religion or financial status, should be sold or bought into slavery.

Slave markets in Libya aren’t fiction; it is alive and booming, with human beings who are mostly stranded immigrants and refugees sold for just a few hundred US dollars.

According to a 2017 investigations conducted by CNN, there are at least 9 locations in Libya, where slave markets thrive daily. These vile markets are believed to be more widespread, and security agencies aren’t concerned – not even the AU.

Libya’s unstable government and a weak regime makes it nearly impossible to correctly assess the prevalence of modern slavery in the oil-rich African country once led by the deceased Muammar al-Gadaffi.

However, the world has been outraged by CNN’s recent findings and protests have been held in Paris to evoked instant action from the wimpy AU.

We were 55 that left for Libya, but a total of 25 people died in the desert – Deportee

There are reports of rape, forced labor, beatings, and appalling living conditions. Most of the victims are immigrants from different countries, including Nigeria, who have spent their life savings to travel abroad for greener pastures.

Many of the slaves were only released after their families raised buy-out money. In most cases, the affected families have been swindled and threatened for more cash.

Here are a few stories from survivors who once lived in chains, like a bunch of worthless dogs to their fellow human beings.

“The men on the pick-up were brought to a square, or parking lot, where a kind of slave trade was happening. There were locals – he described them as Arabs – buying sub-Saharan migrants,” said Livia Manante, an IOM officer based in Niger who helps people wanting to return home.

“Several other migrants confirmed his story, independently describing kinds of slave markets as well as kinds of private prisons all over in Libya,” Manente said, according to a 2017 report from The Guardian. “IOM Italy has confirmed that this story is similar to many stories reported by migrants and collected at landing points in southern Italy, including the slave market reports. This gives more evidence that the stories reported are true, as the stories of those who managed to cross-match those who are returning back to their countries.”

It’s clear that Libya’s struggling government has been unable to render the help it promised to CNN; that through the documented findings, it will shut down the barbaric trafficking business.

While the EU leaders deny allegations of turning a blind eye to the ongoing brutality and violation of human rights in Libya, it it time for the African Union, including you and I, to spring into action by lodging our protests on social media. These human traffickers must be stopped at all costs.

The Africa Union has a total of 55 member states whose unanimous decision should be able to effect an instant end to slavery in Libya. Some of the organization’s objectives are to promote stability, human rights, and opportunity across Africa; to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; as well as to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.


In our eyes, these goals have been relegated to the background for other trivial, meaningless and white-elephant projects across different sectors of the economy. How then will Africa get a lift from its current status as a developing or rather underdeveloped continent?

There’s no doubt that the future of Africa lies in the hands of AU leadership, and there should be no room for failures or excuses.

We, at Meziesblog, are calling on Libya’s government to close these evil markets and restore freedom to the captives, as well as arrest and punish all offenders. No human being should be bought or sold, with or without price tags. It is morally repugnant.

Idriss Déby was an AU leader between January 30, 2016 and January 30, 2017, when he stepped down for Alpha Condé from Guinea who is the incumbent AU Chairperson. Other former leaders include Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), and Yayi Boni (Benin Republic).

2 thoughts on “Why can’t the African Union just shut down Libya’s slave markets?

  1. Decent people should let their voice be heard and come up for those without a voice, the tortured, enslaved. Let also hope several governments shall put pressure on the Libyan and other North African states which allow human traffic smugglers and slave drivers.