What You Need To Know About The Horrific Reports That Slaves Are Being Sold In Libya

If you're on any social media, chances are you've seen people posting about slavery in Libya over the last few days. Everyone – from musicians like Cardi B to politicians and likely some of the "friends" you haven't seen for a decade – has been posting about the story. So what's happening exactly, and is there anything we, as individuals, can do?
The source of the outrage is an exclusive investigation and video posted by CNN last week, lifting the lid on Libya's modern-day slave trade. While the situation wasn't completely unheard of, it had been largely ignored. The stellar piece of investigative journalism, particularly the distressing footage of 10 men being sold at auction outside Tripoli, has been picked up by media organisations worldwide and is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Libya is the main hub for refugees and migrants leaving African countries (like Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia), and hoping to make their way to southern Europe, as Al Jazeera explains. This, combined with the fact that the fall of Muammar Gaddafi left a power vacuum in the heart of government, explains why human trafficking and people smuggling have boomed in the country.
The Libyan media questioned the credibility of CNN's investigation by seizing on a tweet by Donald Trump in which he claimed the media organisation was a "major source of (Fake) news" that represents the US "very poorly" to the world. But Libyan authorities had already announced the launch of an investigation into CNN's allegations.
Much like the outrage sparked by the case of sex trafficking victim Cyntoia Brown, who recently gained the support of some of the world's biggest celebrities, the story is spreading like wildfire on social media. Cardi B called out the United Nations in a live Instagram video for not "making it their problem or priority to help what's going on in Libya" and accusing the organisation of wanting to use Libya for its resources.
A plethora of British public figures, MPs and musicians have expressed their support for the refugees and migrants embroiled in the trade, tweeting and Instagramming details of a protest in London planned for Saturday 9th December and a petition on the UK government's website urging it to put more pressure on Libya.
Obviously signing an online petition is never a guarantee of change and is rarely enough on its own, but if you're as outraged as everyone else seems to be, you can start by joining the 60,000 people who have already added their names. Amnesty International also has a petition urging EU leaders to stop forcing vulnerable refugees into Libya.
Protests have also sprung up around the world, also with the aim of urging national governments and international bodies to take action. There is one happening in London on Saturday 9th December organised by African Lives Matter, an organisation that was reportedly founded to raise the profile of issues affecting Africa.
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