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France calls UN Security Council meeting over Libya slavery

The slave trade in Libya has left people being sold for $400 [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 November, 2017

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France decided this morning to ask for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss this issue, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament on Wednesday.
France called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss slave trading in Libya following video footage showing Africans being auctioned off in the war-torn country.

"France decided this morning to ask for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss this issue," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament on Wednesday.

"We are doing it as a permanent member of the Security Council. We have this capability and we are using it."

Libya's internationally-recognised government said on Monday it will investigate the trading in the country, following the release of video footage appearing to show migrants being "auctioned off" in markets.

The footage showed black men presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday he was horrified and that the auctions should be investigated as possible crimes against humanity.

A number of black African men in Cameroon who were reported to have been slaves were interviewed this week.

"It was total hell," said Maxime Ndong, one of 250 migrants who arrived in Cameroon on Tuesday night on a plane chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to bring home migrants.

"There is a trade in black people there. People who want slaves... come to buy them," he said.

"If you resist, they shoot at you. There have been deaths," added Ndong, who spent eight months in Libya.

Another migrant, 22-year-old Sanogo, said he had been caught by people who said they were police before being sold to a slave trader. He was then forced to work on a tomato farm.

More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also compiling evidence of slavery.

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