Following the overthrow of Gaddafi, USA sponsored Arab fighters murdered, expelled, or imprisoned large numbers of sub-Saharan Africans. Gaddafi, who had re-invented himself as a pan-African leader, had been protecting the sub-Saharan African population.
The use of sub-Saharan Africans as slaves in Libya began in the 8th century after the Muslim conquest. Under pressure from European powers, slavery along Libya’s coast declined in the late 19th century but continued further inland until at least the 1930s. To this day one of the most common words for a sub-Saharan African in Libya is عَبْد and means “slave” or “servant.”
Today the UN’s International Organization For Migration [IOM] has published a report on the large-scale return of sub-Saharan African slavery in Libya. They say there are even open slave markets. Woman are sold to individuals as sex slaves. Men are housed in makeshift prisons and forced to do labor or are ransomed back their families.
Most of the sub-Saharans being held were trying to cross Libya to illegally immigrate to Europe. Many are captured by fellow sub-Saharan Africans and then turned over to Arabs.
Leonard Doyle, chief IOM spokesman in Geneva, said “migrants who go to Libya while trying to get to Europe, have no idea of the torture archipelago that awaits them just over the border. There they become commodities to be bought, sold and discarded when they have no more value.”
Leonard Doyle says the IOM is running ads on FM radio stations in Africa to warn people of the danger. The IOM is also working to free slaves and return them to their country of origin.
150 Nigerians being transported from Libya back to Nigeria by the IOM
“It’s a bad time to be a black man in Libya” – Sky News after the murder of Gaddafi
Note: Muslim pirates from Libya also raided European cities and took slaves for hundreds of years. America’s first military conflict was with Libya in 1805 to free captured US sailors.