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Essay: Call to Action: Stopping Slavery in Libya – Lets End this Human Rights Violation Now

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  • Subject area(s): Sample essays
  • Reading time: 6 minutes
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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 1,636 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 7 (approx)
  • Tags: Slavery essays

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Slavery is one of the most demeaning things that someone can go through. Slavery is taking away someone’s human rights at the least. Slavery also takes away someone’s freedom of movement, workers right, and other human rights, depending on the specific situation. Libya is a north African nation that has a dark history of slave trade in the present and the past. Libya is already low on the priority trading list of most countries due to their lack of industry and history of internal conflict. The fact that Libya is also becoming synonymous with slavery in the modern persons mind is not going to help Libya’s image in the future trading markets. If Libya has any hope of becoming caught up with the rest of the world something needs to change. Although slavery might not be the reason why Libya is in the state it is now, there could be a root issue that is allowing activities like the slave trade happening in the present to flourish. To whom this may concern, please take this issue into consideration as it is a serious problem in your country as I am sure you know. With your status in the Libyan government you have the power to make change and influence Libyans to stop the slavery that the world is seeing in your country.   

Libya has a long history of slavery and forced labour. There was slavery in Libya before French or Italians colonized the countries which began in the late 1911. Following their arrival slavery was abolished in Libya. Libya needed this intervention because slavery was common practice and normalized in pre European Libya. “in North Africa and the Middle East, slavery was a set of practices governed by Islamic law”. Although the introduction of European administration caused a large amount of the slavery to cease in Libya there was definitely slavery still going on at the time. For some, slavery was so normal for that they could not help but do business without free labour, they even saw this as their personal right because they had enough money to afford a slave. The use of slaves even had a racial entitlement behind it. People who had black slaves saw them as lesser people and this justified their place as slaves in the eyes of the masters. Another factor was faith based discrimination Islam recognises the reason for slavery as being kufr, which is the denial of the truth or in other words not being Muslim. This religious ideology game people who owned slaves assurance that their actions where just and righteous. Religious texts even state that if the slave becomes Muslim they should not be a slave any longer. (al-Manjiid) However, unlike slavery in the agricultural, sugar cane and cotton industry in the Americas. The slaves were like butlers or servants to families. They meshed into family life and did not look explicitly like slaves to the untrained eye. However these people received little to no payment for their labours. Slavery in the past however is very different to how it is manifesting in the present.

Although we live in the modern era, humans are still largely the same as we were tens of thousands of years ago, Only now we have technology. We still have the same primal instincts that pit us against other tribes, we are by no means civil. This can be seen when looking in western nations, which are the richest in the world; this phenomena can also be seen in poorer nations that do not have the same resources. For example in Libya  poverty and poor living conditions are present across the country. This results in the lack of government programs, healthcare and police services across the nation. Due to the poverty, police officers and government officials are much more willing to take bribes and become lax on laws. The current situation in Libya is better than post Gadhafi’s assassination however it is nothing to be Celebrated. Thousands of migrants from the middle east are trying to make it to Europe over the Mediterranean sea. These people are making a life threatening journey from their countries by raft and are unfortunately being intercepted by coastguards on the border of Libya. Unfortunately these refugees that are seeking a better life are captured by the government. “Celestine Ike a 27-year-old claims he spent nine months stuck in Libya, where he says he had been captured and imprisoned for almost four months, until a friend paid his ransom of 4,000 Libyan dinars” (BBC). Even after their ransoms are paid they are still kept captured and sold to the highest bidders in auctions for as little as $400 dollars a person. The people that are not sold are kept captive in warehouses and barns that have horrible living conditions. Ike said that while he was imprisoned he had been repeatedly shot by his captor. With a damaged finger on his left hand, which he says was smashed with a hammer, he pointed at a bullet wound on his foot. He said that in prison he saw many people dying, and most of them were black. “ ( D'Agostino) This is by no means the standard of living that any refugee from a fleeing country should have to live through. There are videos on the internet showing the poor condition that people are living in. They are not being fed or given water, and a lot of people die of disease due to the lack of sanitation and close living conditions. Hundreds of refugees are packed into rooms, they are separated by gender and there are different reports from males and females as to what the treatment is like, however none of it is good. Females are commonly raped and assaulted by male guards and even other men from refugee groups. The guards do not care about the health of these people. They respond with violence regardless of compliant behaviour or not. The Libyan government should be helping these people reach their destination if anything, not capturing and exploiting them.  

Slavery is definitely going on in Libya, we know this because of multiple documentaries that have been made by brave journalists using hidden cameras to capture live action and victim testimonies. “The righteous outrage from the international community at the recent uncovering by CNN of a slave market selling migrants in Libya will matter only if it yields a response that will stem the buying and selling of human beings.” This is a quote from a CNN article, that explains that although spreading awareness is an important part of the process, it doesn’t matter if we do not accomplish the most important part of the task which is slowing or stopping the slave trade in Libya. Raising awareness is one thing but influencing change is an entirely different task which must be done from within the country. “According to CNN, the U.N.-backed Libyan government has launched a formal investigation into the allegations.” This has been hard for upper government to regulate simply due to the fact that there is no organized government overseeing Libya. The country has been in chaos since the assassination of the former leader Gaddafi. There are multiple different factions states and organizations that control their own bodies of government. The country is not able to organize at this point, they are still in conflict with each other following the civil war the happened after the assassination of the former leader. The country is essentially lawless. (Quackenbush) Due to the lack of money in the country, people are incentivised to seek finances and slavery happens to be the way that they are doing it. It is unfortunate however in the situation that Libyans are in that some are willing to stoop as low as to sell others struggling people into forced labour. Asking the government to intervene is not going to solve this situation. The government does not have a single body and cannot coordinate to renovate damaged buildings from civil wars less topple complicated and organized trafficking groups. Something greater must happened to influence change.

If the problems in Libya are to be stopped, either the Libyan government needs to unite which is going to be extremely difficult to do, or an outside force needs to stop the trade. Neither of these options are going to be easy however the least dangerous is uniting the Libyan government so that law can be established in the country. The problem with an outside force intervening with the countries affairs is that this could catalyze another war which is not good for anyone and might not even accomplish the intended goal. As one of the only original government employees reading this, you have a great responsibility. Uniting a country can be difficult however it is the only option, otherwise Libya is going to continue to be a lawless skirmish. There will be no prosperity, no safety, and no future if something drastic from the inside of the country is not done to bring the different organizations together. Awareness needs to be spread, maybe a campaign could spread the message that the rest of the world knows what is going on and is not pleased with what is sees. At this point trying something in Libya is better than just standing by and watching the events go on. These are real people that were fleeing their countries to find a better life, they should not be in Libya against their will. Slavery is not the largest issue in Libya today, it is the dividedness that makes it impossible for anything to get done. There is no organization at the federal level. If Libya is to get rid of the slavery problem government needs to have authority again and law needs to govern order.

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