The Libyan Slave Trade

(Photo: Kofi Dua)

By: Hayley Kohlhepp/Senior Writer

Throughout history, people have been witness to some of the worst imaginable acts not just between countries, but between their own people. Wars, holocausts, terrorism, and slavery are just the beginning of a long list of torment and abuse towards people of different skin colors, religions, etc. One hundred and fifty two years after slavery was abolished in the United States, one would think that as a country, the U.S. has grown in not only acceptance, but also love and respect. This is not the case.

In Libya, hundreds of African refugees are being sold in slave markets while their United Nations Ambassador is claiming, “Libya, which is subject to a large scale false media campaign of defamation trying to portray it as a racist country, has a large portion of dark-skinned people as part of our population.”

As is human nature, people hear of neglect and hurt, and figure it isn’t happening in their own small town. But the Libyan slave trade can impact you. Here’s how.

The Libyan slave trade started because Libya is a main ‘transit point’ that migrants and refugees find themselves entering while trying to reach Europe. The problems Libya is facing, such as deaths and injuries to the refugees as they are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, have now turned into the European Union’s problems due to the need of funds and resources. Approximately four hundred thousand to one million refugees can be found in overrun detention camps reporting robberies, rapes, and murders.  While they find themselves fearing for their lives and fighting for food, they also find themselves having a fear of being captured on their journeys and then sold as laborers in slave auctions.

How does this apply to you? 

In the news, you see images of refugees going through screenings and in politics, you see the problem of immigration reoccur too many times. If the United Nations comes to the conclusion that they need to step in because Libya is treating their refugees this way, then the United States may see more refugees or stricter rules and regulations through the United Nations.

What can you do to help until then?

There are multiple actions you can adopt to take a stand against the Libyan Slave Trade and help the victims. Firstly, find a nonprofit and do what everyone in the 21st century does best: POST ABOUT IT! The more publicity and spotlight a nonprofit has, the more people see it. Even if you may be a little tight on pocket change to donate, any one of the thousands of people you know online may be able to help. Free The Slaves, Polaris, and Global Fund to End Modern Slavery are just three of the hundreds available.  Secondly, hold your elected representatives responsible. Though Nikki Haley, the U.S. United Nations Ambassador, is standing against the slave trade there is still a lot of work to be done. Recently, the United Nations came to the decision that there will be a full investigation on the slave trade.

So stay informed and vigilant! Write to the UN, The White House, and your elected representatives. See if all of the actions being made are working at stopping future slavery issues as well as today’s issues, and see if they are working with all the resources they need.

Hayley Kohlhepp is a senior and first-year writer for the Raider Reader. She loves to write and hang out with her family. Hayley plans on studying social work at SUNY Broome College in hopes that she can pursue her true passion, helping others.