It is widely known that the U.S.-led NATO intervention to topple
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011resulted in a power vacuum that
has allowed terror groups like ISIS to gain a foothold in the country.
Despite the destructive
consequences of the 2011 invasion,the West is currently taking a
similar trajectory with regard to Syria. Just as the Obama
administration excoriated Gaddafi in 2011, highlighting his human rights abuses
and insisting he must be removed from power to protect the Libyan people, the
Trump administration is now pointing to the repressive policies of Bashar
al-Assad in Syria andwarninghis
regime will sooncome
to an end— all in the
name of protecting Syrian civilians.
But as the U.S. and its allies
fail to produce legal grounds for their recent air strike - let alone provide
concrete evidence to back up their claims Assad was responsible for a deadly
chemical attack last week -more hazards of invading
foreign countries and removing their heads of state are emerging.
This week, new findingsrevealedanother
unintended consequence of “humanitarian intervention”:the growth of the human slave
while “violence, extortion and slave labor” have been a reality for people
trafficked through Libya in the past,the slave trade has recently
people are selling other human beings out in the open.
“The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for
migrants can be added to a long list of outrages [in Libya],” said
Mohammed Abdiker, head of operation and emergencies for the International
Office of Migration, an intergovernmental organization that promotes “humane and orderly migration for the benefit
of all,”accordingto its
website. “The situation is dire. The more
IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all
too many migrants.”
The North African country is
commonly used as a point of exit for refugees fleeing other parts of the
since Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011, “the vast, sparsely populated
country has slid into violent chaos and migrants with little cash and usually
no papers are particularly vulnerable,” theGuardianexplains.
One survivor from Senegal said
he was passing through Libya from Niger with a group of other migrants
attempting to flee their home countries. They had paid a smuggler to transport
them via bus to the coast, where they would risk taking a boat to Europe. But
rather than take them to the coast, the smuggler took them to a dusty lot in
Sabha, Libya. According to Livia Manente, an IOM officer who interviews
survivors, “their driver suddenly said middlemen had not passed on his fees
and put his passengers up for sale.”
“Several other migrants
confirmed his story, independently describing kinds of slave markets as well as
kinds of private prisons all over in Libya,”she said, adding IOM Italy had confirmed similar
stories from migrants landing in southern Italy.
The Senegalese survivor said he
was taken to amakeshift prison, which theGuardiannotes are common in Libya.
“Those held inside are forced
to work without pay, or on meager rations, and their captors regularly call
family at home demanding a ransom. His captors asked for 300,000 west African
francs (about £380), then sold him on to a larger jail where the demand doubled
When migrants were held too
long without having a ransom paid for them, they were taken away and killed.“Some wasted away on meager
rations in unsanitary conditions, dying of hunger and disease, but overall
numbers never fell,”theGuardianreported.
“If the number of migrants goes
down, because of death or someone is ransomed, the kidnappers just go to the market
and buy one,” Manente said.
Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Niger’s
chief of mission, confirmed these disturbing reports.“It’s very clear they see
themselves as being treated as slaves,”he said. He arranged for the repatriation
of 1,500 migrants just in the first three months of this year and is concerned
more stories and incidents will emerge as more migrants return from Libya.
“And conditions are worsening in Libya so I
think we can also expect more in the coming months,” he added.
As the United States government
continues to entertain regime change in Syria as a viable solution to the many
crises in that country, it is becoming ever-more evident that ousting dictators
— however detestable they may be — is not effective.Toppling Saddam Hussein led not only to the
deaths of civilians andradicalization within the population, but also therise of ISIS.
AsLibya, once a beacon of
stability in the region, continues to devolve in the fallout from the Western
“humanitarian” intervention– and
as human beings are dragged into emerging slave trades whilerapes and kidnappingsplague
is increasingly obvious that furtherwar will only create even
further suffering in unforeseen ways.