Call to Investigate and Close Libyan Slave Markets
Campaign Update:

COVID-19 Update: The pandemic has led to the suspension of many humanitarian operations in Libya, including visits to detention centers, registration centers for aid, rescue missions at sea, and resettlement operations. The risk of modern slavery for Libya’s migrants and refugees is critical. Read more here.

Call to End Slavery in Libya

By now you’ve seen the news.

53 migrants and refugees dead in an airstrike.1

Africans being sold off for forced labor.2

Disappearances. Appalling disease.

Detainees being forced to take up arms in the Libyan civil war.3

The world was shocked when news of slave markets in Libya broke two years ago, but since then cases of modern slavery in Libya have evolved considerably. And they are all linked back to migrant detention centers and the money and power fueling their existence.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations have all documented major human rights violations and clear cases of modern slavery in these facilities.

So who’s throwing these vulnerable people behind bars?

The Libyan Coastguard — supported generously by funding from the European Union.4,5

In a bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching the shores of Europe, the Libyan Coastguard has increased its interception of boats in the Mediterranean Sea, returning those on board to Libya and locking them up in migrant detention centers.6

And as the devastating, deadly airstrike on the Tajoura migrant detention center shows, these facilities are now targets in the country’s ongoing conflict and no place for refugees to live.

We know racism within Libya is contributing to the problem as well; black and dark-skinned refugees and migrants from Sub-Saharan African are the majority of those trafficked and subjected to forced labor. The United Nations even reported that “a commonly used word to refer to black people in Libya is ‘abidat’, which translates to “slaves.”7

Take it from Leyla, a Somali refugee.

“We barely ate and there wasn’t enough water. So many people were sick with TB, some died in my arms. I was beaten up and we were tortured – with electricity,” she said.8

She and her husband fled Islamist al-Shabab militants in Somalia in 2016 but ended up in the hands of human traffickers in Libya. When they managed to escape their traffickers, the couple boarded an inflatable boat, hoping to cross the Mediterranean.

But when their boat ran out of fuel it was the Libyan Coastguard that forcibly took them to Tripoli, locking them up in the Triq al-Sikka Detention Center. Running out of hope that they would be freed, her husband set himself on fire, burning to death.

We must break this cycle of exploitation.

And that starts with putting pressure on the EU. Telling the EU to put human lives before inhume immigration policies that are sending refugees and migrants back into danger in Libya.

Your signature tells the EU that it can no longer be complicit in allowing modern slavery to persist in Libya. Act now.

Jun 19, 2017 Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

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B KuruAaron JamesJasJohalFreedom UnitedJudith G. Anderson Recent comment authors
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Judith G. Anderson
Judith G. Anderson

Your link to Twitter does not work. It keeps bringing up the petition page instead of the Twitter box.

Adil Mahmoud Ahmed Alamin
Adil Mahmoud Ahmed Alamin

Dear Mr Antonio Goiters
I am a refugee .chronic refugee from Sudan lives in Yemen .according to Marrakesh declaration .I have this opinions in attached file a call it “HOME IS BEST INITIATIVE ”
which is more wise, to accept the millions of Africans malignant emigration to UE and Germany or establishing true democracy at their own countries.
Mr. Adil.M.A. Alamin

Paulette Harvey
Paulette Harvey

Are we turning the clock back to a new dark age? There are fresh talks about moon landings and beyond, driverless cars and even driverless boats, yet the only answer to overpopulation of the planet seems to be destroy the weak and the poor by any means, be it slavery, starvation, murder or neglect, or exploitation,

I don’t like this new world much …..and at 71 I won’t have too much longer on it…….thank God.


Yes, agree. All this money in the world held be a few and they could use it to help these poor poor desperate people but they don’t! The lives of the dispossessed and poor on this planet are just so awful. Save for a few nobody cares about these people. They are human beings like you and I and the perpetrators of this unspeakable cruelty must be held account for their actions.


May I remind people that Europeans were once slave traders, kidnapping and transporting Africans to America.

B Gilman
B Gilman

Your point being?

Aaron James
Aaron James

Yes and that ended over 150 years ago, but this in Libya is happening now. But go ahead scream about the distant past.

B Kuru
B Kuru

May I remind people that Europeans were once enslaved by Arab and Muslim slave traders during the days when Europe was under constant invasion by Muslim hoards….just a few hundred years ago.

Davide Banchio
Davide Banchio

Sorry for my english. You have to keep in your mind that the real problem to change the actual situation is to change the ageement of DUBLIN. In order to share the migrant between all the county of Europe
Italy can not receive and manage all the migrant because has many social and criminal problems to solve herselves . we are not able to do that because we are not able to organize how to manage them. Italians are good to do other thigs like arts , music, food, etc. but not to manage people.

Investigate Slavery in Libya

Help us reach 75,000 actions

To UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres:

Along with you, we are also horrified at CNN’s footage of African migrants being bought and sold as property in slave markets in Libya. For some time now, credible reports have emerged from Libya of vulnerable migrants being exploited. As illustrated in the footage, they are sold in slave markets to be used for forced labor or sexual exploitation or their families are extorted for ransom. While thousands of migrants and refugees travel through Libya each year, the Libyan authorities have stated that this problem is outside of their national capacity.

We are therefore calling on you and the United Nations to formally investigate these slave markets in Libya to stop this egregious practice, protect migrants and refugees from the risk of slavery in Libya and bring their traffickers to justice.

Freedom United will protect your privacy while updating you on campaigns, news and stories about modern slavery.

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