According to CNN, slavery is on the rise in the North African nation of Libya. African migrants and refugees, consisting of men, women, and children, are being held against their will, forced to pay a ransom, and are often times sold into slavery and prostitution.

In August of 2017, CNN received private footage of an auction occurring in Libya, Africa in which two African men were sold for $400 each. Concerned and curious about this, journalist Nima Elbagir along with her team traveled to Libya to investigate the legitimacy of this video. They discovered a migrant slave trade within the country and officially released video footage of their findings on November 28th, 2017, sparking feelings of suspicion for some and outrage for others.

According to CNN, most of these slaves are being held for ransom and sold on a daily basis. When they are unable to afford their payoff they are brutally beaten, tortured, mutilated and are sometimes defiled with foreign objects. An African man named Victory from Nigeria describes his experience with slavery to the crew in one of CNN’s videos. He holds back tears as he expresses that “they will start beating you so that your money will come quickly” and states that everyone is “beaten with electric [cables].” It took him 8 months to pay his ransom and escape.

African smugglers are responsible for this migrant slave trade. They pose as saviors who will illegally transport Africans from all over the Continent into Europe, but once they reach Tripoli, the capital of Libya, the journey stops. These innocent people are forced into the horrific slave trade that CNN has captured in their videos.

Fortune magazine stated that every year for the past three years, more than 150,000 migrants and refugees from Libya have ventured across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. The harsh living conditions in sub-Saharan Africa force them to leave the country in search of a new beginning. Some of them spend their entire life savings for this voyage. Europe has become the ideal continent to travel to. The New York Times reveals that this illegal migration crisis began in 2014 due to the rise of human trafficking, smuggling, and overall danger within sub-Saharan Africa. These people are desperate to get away from the armed conflict, economic hardship, and extreme persecution in this area. With the hopes of a better opportunity, they are making the dangerous trip to Europe. It is even worse now because they either die at sea during the unpredictable journey or live and face enslavement in Libya.

Despite the multitude of images and pieces of video footage depicting the horrors of the migrant slave trade, U.S. President Donald Trump has reported to twitter that the claims of slavery in Africa are “fake news.”

It is 2017 and human beings are being abused and sold as property. The migrant slave trade in Libya is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and handled as soon as possible. Africans are being treated like animals and are dying in large numbers.

Everyone needs to understand the severity of this situation and create a discourse about what is going on in order for a change to occur. This is an issue that cannot be ignored.

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Hello! My name is Elana Williams-Leonard and I am a senior pursuing a bachelor's in Literary and Cultural Studies with a concentration in Applied Psychology. My minors include Business Administration, Communication, and Africana/Black Studies. On campus, I am a Writing Consultant in the Academic Center for Excellence, a Resident Assistant, a MyPath mentor, and an active member in the Multicultural Student Union Organization. My life's goal is to educate people about the importance of acceptance, diversity and love. I try to accomplish some of that through writing, whether it be in my free time or here at The Archway. I really hope you enjoy my articles!