Ghana MPs speak against slave auction in Libya
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, has called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collaborate with the United Nations and the Libyan government to conduct investigations into an alleged slave auction in Libya.
According to him, there should be an immediate trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other stakeholders to the detention centres in Libya where most Ghanaians and other African migrants were being kept.
The trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Libya, Mr Annoh-Dompreh said, would afford them the opportunity to better appreciate the situation and initiate appropriate intervention measures as soon as practicable.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh made the call when he presented a statement on the floor of Parliament on recent developments in Libya concerning an alleged slave trade in that country.
The Republic of Libya is the main and prominent route that serves as the main departure point for refugees hoping to reach Europe by sea.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh also explained that migrants living in Libya or passing through were being bought and sold in modern day slave markets before being held for ransom or used as forced labour or for sexual exploitation. The refugees were subjected to a range of abuses.
He said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says it had interviewed West African migrants who recounted being traded in garages and cars parks in the southern city of Sabha, one of Libya’s main people-smuggling centres.
He said reports indicated that people were bought for between $200 and $500 and were held on average for two to three months.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh also clarified that migrants, some from Nigeria, Senegal and the Gambia were captured as they headed north towards Libya’s Mediterranean coast where some tried to catch boats for Italy.
He said along the way, the migrants had become prey to an array of armed groups and people-smuggling networks that often try to extort extra moneys in exchange for allowing them to continue.
He said most of the migrants were used as day labourers in construction or agriculture. Some were paid but a large number were forced to work for no salaries at all.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh further stated that a lot of the migrant captives who were unable to pay their captors were reported killed or left to starve to death.
He said when migrants died; others are purchased to replace them, whiles some were even buried without being identified or their families notified back home.
He said reports from Libya showed that the situation was dire and statistics this year indicated that an estimated 26,886 migrants had crossed to Italy from different countries which represented over 7,000 more than during the same period in 2016.
He said more than 600 migrants were also known to have died at sea while an unknown number perished during their journey north through the desert.
Dr Rashid Pelpou, Member of Parliament for Wa Central in his contribution, challenged African governments and the African Union (AU) to intervene in the unfortunate situation in Libya.
He said African governments must also be prepared to intervene with the militarily to stop this modern day slavery in Libyan to bring dignity to the African people.
He urged President Nana Akufo-Addo to linkup with other African leaders to call for extra ordinary meeting of the AU to discuss the alleged trade of African migrants in Libya.