ASO: Libyan slave trade demands attention of United Nations, individual students

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Tragedy has again struck people that are in search of freedom from oppressive regimes, crippling economic times and extreme violence in their native countries. Thousands of people globally are migrating in order to pursue better lives for themselves and their families.

Libya has become a major passageway for immigrants en route to Europe to seek better lives. Because of this, smuggling immigrants to Europe has become a business. Smugglers will usually take people to Libya and the immigrants usually have to wait a couple of days to continue the journey.

Acquiring means for the cost into Europe is rather expensive due to the high demand. Sometimes immigrants end up waiting for months and run out of money. The smugglers then force the immigrants to work for their money to continue their journey. The money usually is received directly by the smuggler and there is no accountability for people to keep track of the money they have made.

Smugglers even send ransom notes to families back home in order to get them to pay for the immigrants. Indentured servitude eventually turns into slavery when smugglers begin to see the profits and benefits of holding these people. As a result, “almost one million people are now bottled in Libya,” says Casey Quackenbush of Time Magazine.

The Libyan slave trade is one that has been occurring for years but it has become pervasive recently. It has drawn the attention of the world leaders, specifically those in the UN.

France’s ambassador to the U.S.,  Francois Delattre, is the only ambassador that has taken action about the Libyan slave trade. Delattre is currently urging the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on the individuals involved in the Libyan slave trade of African migrants and refugees.

The Security Council has created different meeting sessions as a platform to discuss the Libyan slave trade, but it hasn’t come up with a definitive solution. However, the European countries who are involved in the enslavement of African migrants and refugees are not being confronted by their government.

Furthermore, CNN has reported that there have been 150,000 migrants who have been rescued and taken back to their native countries, most especially Nigerians. This is still a problem because there are many other African citizens from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and other West African countries that are victims on the slave trade movement.

While the UN is communicating about potential solutions, we as the African Student Organization want to influence and pressure them to take action faster. The African Student Organization is currently encouraging Saint Edward’s students and faculty to sign a petition to urge the UN to take action. We will be out on Ragsdale lawn with laptops ready for students to sign on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12pm-5pm. We urge you to come out and show your support. While our efforts as an organization have been influential, real progress is essentially impossible without your involvement. The attention that this crisis requires is certainly not being fulfilled by the news media, so it’s up to us to facilitate and maintain a conversation and hold our representatives and officials accountable for stopping these heinous crimes.