The situation in Libya is complex and that’s part of the reason it remains so deeply unresolved.
The world is
finally paying attention after an exclusive CNN report
revealed a modern-day slave trade taking place in Libya. The war-torn North African nation has struggled to gain footing since long-time tyrannical leader Muammar Gaddafi was abruptly ousted, allowing inhumane practices that already existed to flourish. The images of Black bodies being presented on auction blocks could have been plucked from grade school history books, except these were in vivid color and depicted atrocities happening today.
For most of us, the last time Libya crossed our minds was in 2011, after a US-led NATO bombing led to dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s removal and death. Satisfied with another war victory, America turned its attention elsewhere, ignoring how Libya was left vulnerable to nearby terrorist groups and other threats. The UN-backed transitional government failed to institute
rule of law and with no supervision or support from the countries that upended it, Libya descended into civil war. Currently, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) competes with the Khalifa Haftar government, as well as groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda, which control large expanses of territory.
Roughly the size of France with plenty of ungoverned space, Libya became the main transit point to Europe by sea after the European Union began incentivizing African governments to detain migrants. Instead of deterring migrant flow, this policy forced them to travel along more dangerous smuggling routes and increased the amount of people stuck in Libya. It is estimated that between 400,000 and one million refugees
, primarily from countries like Eritrea and Sudan, are currently being held in Libya. These men and women fled poverty and violence in their home countries, lured by social media posts that promised a better life. They risked everything to leave, turning over what little they had to smugglers who raped, tortured, and sold them.