Slaves on the auction block in 2017 in North Africa. We’re joined by CNN reporters who helped expose it in Libya, and a New Yorker writer who’s also chronicled migrant exploitation.
This hour airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST.
Raja Razek, CNN journalist. (@rajarazek)
From Tom’s Reading List:
CNN: People For Sale — “‘Eight hundred,’ says the auctioneer. ‘900 … 1,000 … 1,100 …’ Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars — the equivalent of $800.
Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not ‘merchandise’ at all, but two human beings.
One of the unidentified men being sold in the grainy cell phone video obtained by CNN is Nigerian. He appears to be in his twenties and is wearing a pale shirt and sweatpants.
He has been offered up for sale as one of a group of “big strong boys for farm work,” according to the auctioneer, who remains off camera. Only his hand — resting proprietorially on the man’s shoulder — is visible in the brief clip.”
New Yorker: The Desperate Journey Of A Trafficked Girl — “In recent years, tens of millions of Africans have fled areas afflicted with famine, drought, persecution, and violence. Ninety-four per cent of them remain on the continent, but each year hundreds of thousands try to make it to Europe. The Mediterranean route has also become a kind of pressure-release valve for countries affected by corruption and extreme inequality. “If not for Italy, I promise, there would be civil war in Nigeria,” a migrant told me. Last year, after Nigeria’s currency collapsed, more Nigerians crossed the sea than people of any other nationality.
The flood of migrants is not a new phenomenon, but for years the European Union had some success in slowing it.”
New Yorker: How Not To Solve The Refuge Crisis — “On October 3, 2013, a Sicilian prosecutor named Calogero Ferrara was in his office in the Palace of Justice, in Palermo, when he read a disturbing news story. Before dawn, a fishing trawler carrying more than five hundred East African migrants from Libya had stalled a quarter of a mile from Lampedusa, a tiny island halfway to Sicily. The driver had dipped a cloth in leaking fuel and ignited it, hoping to draw help. But the fire quickly spread, and as passengers rushed away the boat capsized, trapping and killing hundreds of people.
The Central Mediterranean migration crisis was entering a new phase. Each week, smugglers were cramming hundreds of African migrants into small boats and launching them in the direction of Europe, with little regard for the chances of their making it. Mass drownings had become common. Still, the Lampedusa shipwreck was striking for its scale and its proximity: Italians watched from the cliffs as the coast guard spent a week recovering the corpses.”
The video footage is shocking. African men being sold. In Libya. In 2017. “Big strong boys for farm work,” says the auctioneer. “A big strong man! He’ll dig!” And then he takes the bids. The headlines of modern day slavery have flown around the world. Brought condemnation. Protests in the streets. The CNN team that tracked it down is with us today. They were there as the bids went up and up at the auction block. This hour, On Point: the story behind the sale of humans now. —Tom Ashbrook