Back To The Slavery!
The video went viral in November 2018… The person – who captured the incident with shaking hands – had used a cheap cell phone! The video shows that dark-skinned males were being sold publicly in the Libyan capital of Tripoli! The person – who was selling those Africans as slaves, was heard shouting: “This is a very strong man… He could work at fields!” That young man, in his 20s, was seen as the one uncomfortably shivering, with fear and apprehensions, and within a few minutes, he was sold to a group of people for just USD 400!
This footage reminds us of the slave-markets that had flourished in Africa around 300 years ago. Interestingly, US President Donald Trump described it as fake news, shortly after watching the footage in an American television channel!
However, Nigerian national Jude Ikuenobe shared a completely different story with the media. During an interview, Jude said that he wanted to forget this particular chapter of his life. According to the Nigerian, he could have been that young man who was sold for USD 400 in Tripoli! Fortunately, he managed to escape and eventually returned to his country.
A not-so-distantly related snapshot had shaken the entire world in September 2015. The image of Alan Kurdi – a three-year-old Syrian toddler whose body was found washed up facedown on a Turkish beach, with his red shirt clinging to his tiny torso – helped the global community realise the depth of the ‘European migrant crisis‘!
The crisis had actually begun in 2014, when the African migrants started arriving in Europe after crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While many of them perished in this process on their way, others faced various difficulties upon their arrival in mainland Europe! The scenario even prompted some countries to urge the European Union (EU) to re-evaluate and rewrite the 28-member bloc’s Asylum Rules in order to put a stop to the flow of these migrants!
Primary migrant routes through Libya on the way to Europe in 2016
Meanwhile, Jude has tried to explain the situation that forced the Africans to leave their countries, and take shelters in Europe. According to Jude, it is quite natural for the poor and hungry Africans to become victims of the Slave Trade. Slavery has flourished as a trade in Libya, Nigeria and some other African countries in recent times, mainly because of the ongoing political turmoil there. “In Sabha (an oasis city in south-western Libya), every black man is a target. We black in Libya – we’re money to Arabs. The minute they get us, they can sell us. If they are coming, just run. Run for your life,” stressed Jude.
Ikuenobe’s approximate route from Nigeria to Libya
There is a growing demand for Black slaves in Saudi Arabia! To protect himself from the rich Saudi business leaders, Jude had planned to leave his hometown Benin City for Italy. He wanted to lead a normal life and support his family by working in a restaurant. However, some brokers had taken him to Libya. Jude was not alone, as there were 240 more West Africans who were ‘loaded’ in a convoy of eight small trucks by those brokers. It took them three days to reach Libya. According to Jude, the 900km journey was a rough one, with no shade on their heads in hot summer. “Sometimes you look at your colleagues and it’s like blood is gushing out of their eyes. Some people will just lose it psychologically,” added the Nigerian.
The brokers had told them that they would be taken to Italy. Later, Jude came to know that they would be sold as slaves in Sabha. In fact, the brokers sold three of his friends. Luckily, Jude managed to flee, as he had to cross the desert on foot. However, he failed to leave Libya and ended up trapped in that country. Jude spent more than two years in Libya, trying to survive in the underbelly of modern-day slavery!
In 2018, his elder sister helped Jude return to Nigeria. Although he is still jobless, he has warned his friends and relatives not to leave the country. “Migration is good. But people should not go the Libya route. They should apply for a visa, legitimately. These traffickers, they can poison your mind,” insisted Jude.
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