Libya: Where Immigrants Become Slaves

Map of Libya with pictures symbolic of slavery: working on the fields, getting whipped and people protesting in Libya

Map of Libya with pictures symbolic of slavery: working on the fields, getting whipped and people protesting in Libya

Daymara Fernandez, Staff Writer

While everyone wishes that the chaos around the world would end, there is no such luck. In fact, people from Africa and the Middle East are constantly migrating in order to get away from it. Unfortunately those who use Libya as a gateway to Europe, find acts of crime and harm along the way. Many of the migrants who are striving for better living conditions, face the risk of being sold off as laborers in slave auctions. Although this has been happening for years, it has only reached the attention of many because of a video of an auction selling African men as slaves that was leaked. The video has struck controversy throughout social media since many people are appalled by the fact that the United States has not done anything about the situation. While the European Union and United Nations have a constant argument over who should help Libya, the controversial issue of whether the United States should also get involved still stands. If the neighbors of Libya cannot be convinced to help, then the United States needs to get involved because these migrants do not deserve to be treated as subjects that can be bought.

Since the United States has intervened in Libya before, then the country can intervene once more for the greater good of these innocent people. The first time the United States decided to voice its opinions on foreign affairs in Libya was because of the concerning Muammar Gaddafi, who was a dictator that exploited the Libyan government. Yet, Libyan citizens describe him as a peacemaker and a leader for the people, as shown by his attempts to create a better education and various projects that were meant to help residents. However, the United States has criticized Gaddafi on multiple cases, which has resulted in a distant international relationship with Libya. Additionally, because the U.S. is blamed for Gaddafi’s murder, it would be inhumane of the U.S. to not help Libya with the issues of slavery. Since the nation has dealt with slavery before, it makes sense for America to get involved and help those countries who are fighting against violations of civil and human rights. Moreover, everyone should be equal under law, but the auctions taking place are not enforcing this ideology. Americans helping Libya, would make the universe one step closer to equality among all race and gender.

Immigration in Libya is a big problem that a lot of people are not talking about. Most of Libya’s population is working for a small amount of money, meaning that most people are barely making enough to sustain themselves and their families. Moreover, the economy is in trouble as a ton of people, especially immigrants, are in debt. In fact, this is why people reach the point of selling others into slavery, leaving to work as farm hands for no pay and trying to escape the already depressing situation. America should step in, to help restore its negative reputation in African and Middle Eastern countries. Despite America’s most recent travel ban, including Libya and other countries, there is still the opportunity of sending monetary support and troops to Libya. Such actions can therefore alter America’s perceived image in the rest of the world. Furthermore, numbers of kidnappings and muggings keep increasing, so America needs to help those who cannot help themselves.

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I think the slavery in modern-day Libya is inhumane. Africans are not only bought and sold, but are treated very harshly [working as field laborers] as well. These kinds of things have to come to a stop. Nobody should have to be going through this kind of treatment.”

— freshman Lisbet Martinez

While most can agree that slavery is not beneficial overall, others say it is crucial for the Lybian economy since it is the only way to collect money. Despite it being a terrible process, families in Libya go through these auctions in order to make a living. Additionally, others may be against America’s involvement in the situation because the country’s attempt to help countries in the eastern hemisphere may not be taken well, preeminently in Libya. Apart from that, America’s economy is not in any type of economic situation to start magically helping other countries. Others also mention that the head of state seems to be not so fond of all of these countries, as shown by the decisions it has made such as the constant travel bans and the banning of refugees. Additionally, President Trump is known for being against immigration and not helping other countries first instead of his nation.

Contrary to what people on the opposing side might say, helping Libya is part of our foreign policy. Apart from the fact that helping Libya out would actually improve America’s status in international relations, it would not affect the economy if the government gets involved correctly. Trump is not the only person running the government, meaning that just because he would be opposed to helping Libya with its slavery issue does not mean others in Congress couldn’t overrule his opinion. Although Libya is its own country and has no ties with America, this does not mean that it has to deal with its problems by itself. After all, America has gotten involved with international affairs and helped Korea and Vietnam before. Helping Libya with these horrendous acts of in-humanitarianism and throughout-the-globe establishes the moral that America should stand for, especially since our own country is a melting pot of different cultures and immigrants.

Other reasons why the U.S. should be involved in this situation is because slavery is simply wrong. Additionally, slavery prevents the progress of technology and the economy since the idea of manual labor does not articulate any progress. Moreover, efficient work is something that lacks within the practice of slavery since slaves are forced to do the work and under terrible conditions. Slavery is just a cruel treatment that is extremely demeaning to humans to be used and sold as slaves.

In all, the United States needs to set an example since it is one of the world’s biggest powerhouse countries, and it would only make sense to stand up for what is correct and humane. The U.S. cannot simply ignore the rest of the world, though for as corrupt it may be, we are not better than anyone else in it. It is our job as citizens and people in a first-world country to work together to help out the underdog. Slavery is precisely something that should be abolished, followed by injustice and corruption, but without the intervention of a first-world country, it will be hard to do so.

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If you want to be further involved, a good way is by donating to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Free the Slaves and the End Slavery Now organizations.