They say history repeats itself but in 2017, the last thing you expect to hear about is a modern-day slave trade.
But that’s what reporters at CNN claim to have discovered.
Footage in the form of grainy cell phone video obtained by the news outlet shows a Nigerian man who appears to be in his 20s being sold.
He has been offered up as one of a group described as “big strong boys for farm work,” according to he auctioneer. While he remains off camera, viewers can see his hand resting on the man’s shoulder as he speaks.
“800, 900, 1,000, 1,100 …” sold, the auctioneer states. The result? Two Libyan men being sold for $400 a piece.
Last month, reporters carried concealed cameras into a property housed outside of the capital of Tripoli. They claimed to have witnessed a dozen people be sold (yes, you read right) within minutes.
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” the salesman, dressed in camouflage gear, says. “What am I bid, what am I bid?”
Buyers were seen raising their hands as prices increased and within minutes, several men were handed over to their new masters.
Investigators say they met two men after the auction. They had been sold and according to the reporters, “were so traumatized by what they’d been through that they could not speak.”
Every years, tens of thousands of people enter Libya in hopes of a better life. They are either refugees who are fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe. Many cross Libya’s borders without nothing, having sold all of their possessions just to have access the gateway to the Mediterranean.
But a recent crackdown executed by Libyan coastguards means fewer boats are making it to their destination, which leaves smugglers desperately seeking alternatives of what to do with a backlog of passengers on their hands.
And according to investigators, the smugglers become masters and the migrants and refugees become slaves.