Libyan slave mart sparks world outrage

20 November 2017 - 07:30 By AFP
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto

Libya will investigate slave trading on its territory, the internationally recognised government, one of several, announced on Sunday.

Video footage has appeared that appears to show migrants being auctioned.

Chaos-ridden Libya has long been a major transit hub for migrants trying to reach Europe, and many of them have fallen prey to abuse in the North African country at the hands of traffickers and others.

US television network CNN aired footage last week of what appears to have been an auction in Libya in which black men were presented to North African buyers as slave farmworkers and sold for as little as $400 (about R4,200).

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig said on Sunday on the Facebook page of the UN-backed Government of National Accord's press office that the government would investigate the allegation.

Metig said he would order the formation of a "commission to investigate these reports in order to apprehend and bring those responsible to justice".

The CNN report was shared widely on social media, provoking outrage worldwide.

The grainy footage, shot on a cellphone, shows a man CNN said was Nigerian in his 20s being offered for sale as part of a group of "big strong boys for farm work".

Around 1000 people took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest against slavery in Libya, according to French police.

Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the African Union, on Friday called for an inquiry and prosecutions.