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Protests at Libyan embassy in London against slavery

United Kingdom

Demonstrators protested outside the Libyan embassy in London on Saturday, calling for the British government to pressure Libya to end the slavery and inhumane treatment of migrants.

It follows the emergence of video footage last month that appeared to show men being sold at a slave market in Tripoli.

Protesters gathered in London to march on the Libyan embassy because at the moment, there are up to one million migrants in Libya, many of whom are hoping to travel to Europe.

But estimates are that tens of thousands are being held in camps, detained by people smugglers and armed militia in conditions that have been described as horrific.

Among other abuses, the migrants are vulnerable to being sold off as laborers in slave auctions.

Video that emerged last month showing men being sold as slaves sent shockwaves around the world. But humanitarian and migrants groups say this is something that’s been going on for years.

“Actually what is happening in Libya is not new. It started even before Gaddafi was toppled so now it’s at the forefront of the news channels which is good so we can deal with modern slavery once and for all. The international community needs to get to the root cause of the migration of Africans in sub-Saharan Africa to places like Libya. They need to get to the root cause which is economic. They need to start actually investing properly and ethically in African economies,” said Koffi De Lome, an organizer of the protest.

On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council expressed grave concern about the reports of migrants being sold into slavery in Libya saying such actions amount to “heinous abuses of human rights.”

Libyan authorities have promised an investigation into the practice and have reached an agreement with European and African leaders for the emergency repatriation of refugees and migrants who are stranded and detained in Libya.

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