Some call it migration; others prefer the word human trafficking. Yet, the term, slavery has been constantly used of recent – especially amongst the West. Regardless, the miserable situation faced by migrants in Libya, who are determined to cross over to Europe, is not only inhumane, it is definitely a modern day slavery, to say the least. However, the question is, has the West the moral authority to condemn the slavery in Libya?
In their attempt to migrate to Europe for a greener pasture, many migrants – most of them, Africans – have ended up in the webs of inhuman human trafficking and camps in Libya, where they are being mistreated, tortured or even left to die disrespectfully. But that is not all. The desire and determination to migrate have created another opportunity and evil amongst shrewd heartless opportunists, who see the journey to Europe as a booming business. Welcome to the 21st-century slave trade.
While the European governments and the rest of the Western world, are quick to condemn the atrocities being committed in the name of migration, others have in fact blamed the West for the humanitarian tragedy in Libya. This group points an accusing finger on the West’s conspiracy which led to the murder of the former Libyan President, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. They argue that even though Gaddafi might be a dictator, at least he was able to bring some sanity in the country and prevent the refugee crisis, presently tearing the country apart. More than that, the present bunch of hooligans and criminals in Libya, who are making billions of dollars from the illicit slave trade could not operate under Gaddafi. Sadly, Muammar Gaddafi warned the West that their shore would be full of refugees if they removed him from power. But the West did not listen to him. Muammar Gaddafi, to the West, was too “dangerous” and independent-minded for an African leader.
What of African leaders, who have created the sad and miserable conditions that have forced many of their citizens to start risking their lives to go to Europe? Could African leaders have provided much-needed jobs and other social services to their peoples, many Africans would have preferred staying home – and contributing to the economies of their various governments.
But many have also argued that the illegal human trade in Libya could not have been possible without the full support and conspiracy of fellow Africans. It has been reported that some of the so-called detention cells are being controlled by Africans, some from Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the economic realities in Europe are often misrepresented back home. Otherwise, why would someone spend close to $5000 on gangs of smugglers and traffickers, who promise their gullible victims, fantastic jobs in Europe, the same job the criminals themselves never have? Does that make any sense? Why wouldn’t these victims rather invest their hard-earned money in businesses at home rather than risk their lives in the hands of heartless smugglers and tempestuous sea, simply because they want a better life in Europe, a wild dream, which in most cases, become stillborn?
Interestingly, during the slave trade in Europe, innocent victims were uprooted from their countries, forced into a ship and exported to the West to work in various plantations without a pay till some of them died. The Western slavery created the greatest and most single lack of identity crises and human dislocation in the human history. Those slaves who refused to go or were too weak to undertake the journey to the land of the unknown were often killed. Recently, and ironically for that matter, the same Africans want to come to the West to work freely and go back to their countries. The Western government would not allow that. They would rather build detention camps in Libya or pay bandits to prevent the migrants from reaching the West. What an irony! But that’s not all, the Western governments are holding African governments responsible for the modern slavery in Libya. Really? Is that the whole story? Agreed that the corruption in Africa is fuelling the present migration tragedy in Libya, has the West the moral superiority and authority to preach the moral gospel to the world as far as the slavery in Libya is concerned?