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The Libyan Slave Trade: What’s Being Done to End the Crisis?



African people are being auctioned off in Libya like chattel. The revelation that smugglers are buying and selling Sub-Saharan migrants in open-air slave markets in the North African country is a reminder that human trafficking is a reality, and slavery is not over for Black people.

The world was introduced to the shocking graphic images and a video courtesy of CNN showing the African refugees sold in slave auctions, reportedly for as little as $400. These migrants have come to Libya from a number of countries, including Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Zambia, fleeing economic deprivation and war in their own countries for a better life.

A Libyan coast guardsman stands on a boat during the rescue of 147 illegal immigrants attempting to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli, on June 27, 2017. TAHA JAWASHI/AFP/Getty Images

Smuggler are paid to help them get to Libya and ultimately across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, but they run into human traffickers and gangs who exploit them and subject them to kidnapping and forced labor, rape, beatings, torture and death.

The Treeq Alsika Migrant Detention Center in Tripoli, where some migrants are held by Libyan. Photo Credit CNN

When they arrive in Libya, the refugees are jammed in detention centers, crammed warehouses without light or air described as “hell” and “worse than jail.” With its porous borders and a breakdown in security and order, Libya is the only option for Africans to make their way to the Mediterranean and Europe, as Israel has blocked African migrants from further entry and has devised plans to deport and imprison 40,000 refugees currently in the country.

Migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa are being bought and sold in open-air markets in Libya for as little as $400. (Photo: AFP)

The combination of Libya’s splintered government in the wake of Muammar Gaddafi’s fall and the influx of people from Nigeria has led to a situation where stranded men and women are being held against their will and, in some cases, sold into slavery or prostitution.

“As shocking as it seems, it’s indeed true. The reason [the slave trade] can happen is because there is really no rule of law across much of Libya,” Leonard Doyle of the International Organization of Migration told Al Jazeera.

Each year for the past three years, more than 150,000 migrants and refugees have crossed into Europe from Libya in hopes of making their way to a new life. It’s a treacherous journey. More than 3,000 people have drowned each of the past four years trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Recently, with help from Italy, the Libyan coast guard has been capturing vessels smuggling people into Europe. It’s estimated that between 400,000 and 1 million migrants may now be trapped in Libya, where the vulnerable population is preyed upon by smugglers and other criminal elements who rob, rape, and murder them.

The slave auctioning of African migrants in Libya shows how humans are deprived of all dignity. We should renounce all forms of ideology and prejudice that reduce people to merchandise, writes DW’s Fred Muvun

“We cannot even guess the scale of the abuses inflicted on migrants in all these hidden places, untouched by the rule of law,” U.N. human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Huseein said in a September statement. “The situation of migrants crossing Libya was appalling during Gaddafi’s era, but it has become diabolical since.”

Who is buying slaves in Libya?

Smugglers who are now unable to get the people — who have often sold all their possessions in order to pay their way — into Europe are holding them against their will. When warehouses overflow or migrants run out of money to pay the smugglers, some are sold into slavery.

CNN recorded footage of men being sold for $400 as farm laborers at a nighttime auction in Libya. This reporting sparked global outrage and international organizations are now making an effort to investigate the situation and provide transportation for stranded migrants.

Who is Samuel Eto’o?

As more outlets have started covering the slave trade in Libya, various celebrities have drawn attention to the issue. One professional soccer player’s name has come up often in connection with the coverage.

Samuel Eto’o is a former professional soccer player — a striker for Chelsea, Inter Milan and Barcelona — from Cameroon who was recently rumored to have chartered a plane to fly migrants out of Libya and back to their home nation.

He denied these claims, but called for his countrymen to “use this time to prevent other brothers from being deprived of their dignity.”

Many other celebrities and public figures have spoken out against the slavery in Libya including civil rights activist Al Sharpton, actress Tessa Thompson, and artists Common and Pharrell Williams.

Slavery exists. TODAY. In Libya and beyond. I found this article incredibly informative in how we can help. Please have a read and share. And thank you @bustle. More outlets should we talking about this.

President Donald Trump on Libya

While President Donald Trump has not commented specifically on the reports out of Libya, he did tweet about CNN International spreading “fake news” after a story about the slave trade there was published.

Libyan media seized this statement and used it to try to discredit CNN’s reporting about the slave trade in the country.

“Here the possibility arises that the channel has published the report of slavery in Libya to secure an as yet hidden political objective,” a Libyan broadcaster said, adding it was striking that the president’s comments came just a day after the report.

How to Help

There are a few ways to help stop the slave trade in Libya, as Bustle pointed out in a much-applauded post, and raise awareness about the 40 million people enslaved worldwide.

Supporting the International Organization for Migration, which is working in Libya, helps them protect migrants in the country. Donating to global anti-slavery organizations, like Free the Slaves, End Slavery Now, and the Polaris Project also helps those working to end slavery around the world.

People wanted to help can also advocate for a thorough investigation in Libya by the United Nations, and call on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley to push for strong and swift action to combat the issue.

UN envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, talks to illegal migrants during a visit at a detention centre in the Libyan capital tripoli on February 21, 2017. MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

Supporting organizations like the United Nations Refugee Agency, the World Food Program, Oxfam, Save The Children, and Medecins Sans Frontieres that fight the root causes of slavery, such as extreme poverty and displacement, helps refugees and other vulnerable populations.

It has also been suggested that people wanting to help stop the slave trade in Libya should hold corporations accountable. It’s been reported that Facebook, for instance, was reportedly used by smugglers to broadcast videos of migrants held against their will. There’s another side to that coin: People wanted to help can seek out companies that combat slave labor in the supply chain.

It is estimated that between 700,000 and 1 million migrants are in Libya. Hundreds of thousands of people have crossed the Sahara and the Mediterranean, and thousands have died during the perilous journey. Just this year, an estimated 2,400 African migrants have died in the Mediterranean.


By LeNora Millen     12-05-17

The Independent, CNN, and BBC contributed to this report

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Question Who You Are and Discover Your Purpose by Rose G. Shelton



From a kid, I was a wondering energy.  Confused about the contradictions in life I saw in the experiences of the beings around me.  The adults, politicians, community leaders, elders and religious heads that graced pulpits, stages and the television waves spoke one thing and lived lives opposing. Friends and neighbors holding onto religious ideologies and at the bottom of the food chain hoping for the truth to one day prove itself to be real and lift them up from the struggles of life.  Never seeing it happen, wishing for it in the bye and bye. And yet, these flawed philosophies were expected to inform me of my own belief system about me. I would find myself questioning humanity, religion, life itself.  The answers to my many questions, I could not find in the divergence of life playing out before my young eyes.  The antagonistic existence and inhumane norms I did not see change much throughout my life. 

So I allowed my mind to give me answers that made more sense than those given to me from the outside. When I say my mind, I mean my spirit.  Also known as God or the Universe.  He nor I care what it is called.  Names are limiting and worthless in context. I will leave the fight of naming to those seeking to be right in the fight of inconsistency. 

I studied this humanity I was a part.  Despite its established hierarchy, I was able to see greatness in the weak and weakness in the great.  I found love in those identified as unlovable and judgment in those considered full of love.  This confusion of this upside-down world led me to study further.  However, the hate and anger toward those that dared be different made me study in silence and not speak of what I assessed.  I did not believe my research findings as a child, would be pleasing to peers or adults alike.  The search outside of my mind for answers and lucidity ceased the older I got and the internal conversation intensified.  This is where I found freedom and my purpose. Inside of me.   No one was able to give it to me. No one was able to discover it for me. No one was able to touch it, no one but me.

I had a hard time accepting my eccentricity in a world that honored compliance and traditionalism.  I held that celebrating originality was not standard.  When discovered, there is always one looking for a way to destroy it in public view and quash all others fire. So, like many of you, I hid it and tried to live a conformed and normal life.  Whatever normal is.   The problem was when you are an idiosyncratic aware of your peculiar individuality; you become as contradictory and complex as everyone else around you.  You become what you are fearful of becoming.  Both you and the world; hiding, conforming, confused. Therefore, not living in authenticity.  Trapped in relationships with illustrious invalidity. 

I realized that I, as others, became defined by experiences, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, tradition and society.  I decided to forsake the game life handed to me and walk in my own identity.  I no longer desired humanities conscious effort to ignore itself and redefine me.  I did not want religion, culture, society, ideology and the like to define, conform or inform me.  I let go.  I instead questioned every part of me and dug through the rubble of my identity to find myself.

There is an intrinsic truth we all hold waiting to be uncovered.  If we allow it to rise to the top, our purpose will become obvious.  Sometimes, your purpose is as simple as I am the one that wipes the eyes of the blind. Maybe you help the lame to walk.  Possibly you are the one that questions man’s intention and action with discerning inquiring.  Despite this likelihood, that unique insatiable vibration that we hold within is killed to be accepted by the blind, the lame and the unquestioned.  While the world remains in constant wanting, waiting for us to arise and shine in the full knowing of who we are.    We fail them because we neglect to ask the question that I ask you to answer today – Man, who are you?

To help you answer this question, I will tell you one of the ways I allowed the answer to come to me.  I close my eyes and stand in the darkness of my mind.  In this secret place of my mind, I have no religion, no family, no country, no ideology.  There is nothing. I am nothing definable.  I am vibration, energy, a movement in the universe that holds an intention that is diminished by words.  Yet, I can detect my place in this vastness.  I examine my intrinsic nature that has remained constant and true despite experiences and life itself.  I apprehend that I am a questioner that questions all things, and yet, I am the holder of answers.  I question because questioning brings me answers that faith cannot clarify or quantify. 

Since I have recognized and accepted this concept of myself, my life has felt freer and has more value.  I am solid in who I am and my purpose.  We all have our place and part to play. Without you playing your part, I and others, cannot fully achieve on our path.  We benefit from your greatness. 

With that said, what are the 8 questions to ask yourself right now to help discover who you are and gain clarity of your purpose.

1.     What informs your definition of who you are? 

2.     Are you defined by life’s stories, traumas, tragedy, money, career, family, religion, race, ethnicity or something intangible? 

3.     Who do you say you are, what is your 15 second elevator pitch of you?

4.     Is your speech about what you do, what you look like or something deeper?

5.     What fear keeps you from being uniquely you? 

6.     What comfort is there in conformity that you believe is not present in arising and shinning as the diamond that you are?

7.     If you could do anything in life for free and money was not an issue, what would it be?

8.     What do you find yourself doing in every area of your life naturally?




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Beyond the Bars: The life that we live is directly related to the decisions that we make- Morris Nance, JR Inmate #2104389250

Beyond the Bars: The life that we live is directly related to the decisions that we make- Morris Nance, JR Inmate #2104389250

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Beyond the Bars: The life that we live is directly related to the decisions that we make-

by Morris Nance, JR Inmate #2104389250

The life that we live is directly related to the decisions that we make.  We make choices and decisions every day of our lives.  Some small, and some big.  Some important, and some not so important.  It is critical that we continually remind ourselves that a single decision can bring major consequences with it.  The difficulty lies in the fact that it is not always clear to us which decisions are going to have the biggest impact on our lives.  I am as big of an example of this as anyone that I know of.
I’m twenty-six years old and I’m from Knoxville, TN.  I am currently serving a fifteen year sentence for aggravated robbery; a crime that I committed one month after my eighteenth birthday.  The night of my offense and arrest, I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that I was on my way to prison for such a long period of my life.  It never even crossed my mind to contemplate the consequences or the decisions I was about to make.  Before that night I had never been to jail or been in any serious trouble in my life.  Following the wrong crowd and not thinking before making a terribly bad decision ultimately cost me fifteen years of freedom.  I sometimes shake my head thinking about past mistakes, but I never regret them.  I learn from them.
In closing, it is my opinion that the single worst decision that anyone can make is indecision.  If you do not take the time to think and make choices that will affect your life and others in a positive way, you will continue to follow a path of destruction and continually make the same mistakes that myself and others have already made.  There is a never ending supply of followers, but leaders are in high demand.
– Morris Nance, Jr.
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Star Cornerback Richard Sherman Bids Seahawks Farewell Upon Release From Team



Earlier today the Seattle Seahawks released cornerback Richard Sherman due mostly to the financial strain of maintaining his salary. There was a meeting between both parties today which the release indicates neither side could find common ground. Regardless of what was said, the team appeared to want to send Sherman off on a positive note.

“Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle,” the team said in a public statement regarding Sherman.

“We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that, you will always be a Hawk!”

Sherman too seemed to want to leave the situation on a positive note, expressing his stance via twitter.


Unable to finish the 2017-2018 season due to a ruptured Achilles, Sherman’s health likely played at least a small factor in the decision, but all reports indicate Sherman is on track for a full recovery. A Super Bowl champion, three-time pro bowl and first team All-Pro player, as well as one of the outspoken leaders of the Seahawks defense, Sherman could be taking his talents elsewhere, but the Seahawks expressed their willingness to welcome Sherman back at a reduced price which still leaves the door open for a return.

There are a number of good fits available for Sherman. Sherman has history with some of the coaching staff for the Cowboys and Falcons, the Chargers aren’t too far from Sherman’s hometown and the 49ers could offer him a big payday. There are plenty of other options available, and while Sherman has jumped from saying he wants to play for a contender, to he’s willing to join and up and coming squad, his last statement of finding a team that’s comfortable with numbers to match sounds to have the most sound reasoning backing it.

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