What is up with this current fake news about Libya slave markets and aggrandizement of the Gaddafi regime? After CNN came out with video of slave auction markets in Libya, all hell has broken loose online and on mainstream media. Reports of African slaves being auctioned in Libya and the true ongoing horrors of immigrants drowning trying to escape Africa for EU countries has outraged the world.
Twitter has erupted in total revisionist history of the real Gadaffi era.
I began reporting on Libya in 2010 before the revolution and ouster of Gadaffi. Years ago I became friends with a gentleman from Misrata (Misurata) whom I trust to answer my questions and tell the truth on the situation on the ground in Libya.
My 2015 4th anniversary of the revolution in Libya report highlighted triumph and tragedy as to what transpired in Libya during the four years after the revolution.
My Libyan friend has kindly agreed to tell us what the real story is regarding the slave auctions. Here is our conversation.
— Hello friend: Can you give me something to counter the Libya slave auction story? I am having a hard time believing what is being reported.
— Misrati: Yes, I am glad to tell you the real story and hope you can get this out to the public. There are two types of Africans that come to Libya.
The first type of migrant are those who come for working. They always go home. When these type enter, they stay at the South and they call their ex-boss by phone, since they had been to Libya before, and tell them they need someone to smuggle them to the North so they would be granted a safe transportation. They return home after a year or two to visit their family and then they make the journey to Libya again. This type of working migrant are mostly from Chad and Niger. Sometimes they are not lucky and they cross to the North via a town called Bani Walid, the town that CNN did not mention by name. At Bani Walid they get trapped and jailed by a gang who will not release them until they get paid. So they call their ex-boss again and also their friends back home and ask them to pay so they will be released. There is always an agent in the Northern city working for the gang and he is the one that gets the money. This agent sends a signal back to the gang to release the jailed migrant.
The second type of migrant are those that want to go to EU with no return to Africa. They are from Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Ghana, and Nigeria. Those people are not used to Libya. As for them, it is a one way journey, so they get into the hands of the gang before they reach the sea smugglers, since the gang knows that those migrants are desperate to reach the North. They arrest them and never release them until they pay or someone pays for them, and finally they will end up in such labor market auction that was reported by CNN, but as soon as they reach the North, they will quit work and ride the sea to EU. Some of them used to stay in Libya when the value of the Libyan Dinar was o.k., selling alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. But now as the LYD is not worthy they migrate North to Italy seeking more fertile ground.
Now, the auction that CNN is talking about is for the migrants who do not have a friend or ex-boss to pay for their release. So the gang offers them as labor. The shop owners or the farmers come to pay against the migrants’ release. This is the whole story. The ‘auction’ is just telling the type of work that particular migrant is skilled at. So this is fake news. This has nothing to do with slavery. Trump was right.
I don’t deny there is torture. But it is rare. And what do these migrants expect in Libya with such terrible conditions here in Libya for the native citizens? The Libyans themselves are suffering from a lack of food and medical care. I don’t think it is fair that we are responsible for people crossing our country to EU; that we have to feed them and treat them as they come wave after wave.
—Thank you. I hope this helps clarify the situation. Also, this should serve as a warning to Africans that it is treacherous to go to Libya, either to work or to migrate to EU.