EDITORIAL: African Slave Trade in Libya

In this file photo taken Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, African migrants cover themselves with blankets, after being captured by the Libyan Coast Guard while on a boat heading to Italy, in a detention center for illegal migrants in Abu Salim district on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya. Libya’s chaos has turned it into a large and lucrative funnel attracting migrants desperate to make the dangerous sea voyage to Europe. With no central authority to stop it, business is booming, creating a vicious circle that only translates into more tragedies in the Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

It has been centuries since the worst crimes imposed on humankind inextricably known as the Slave Trade began. It took more than 400 years after millions of Africans were shipped to the shores of North and South America and the Caribbean to end this dastardly program. Mostly African men, women, and children suffered in ways unimaginable for the benefit of white men and women in the U.S. who found it convenient and beneficial to transport humans to provide a labor force to build a country they intended to solely serve their needs. The struggle to end the slave trade took centuries and millions of people — Black, White and Native Americans — died or were killed in the process. A war was fought that nearly tore the nation apart and in the end, legislation was passed to put an end to a practice deemed cruel and inhumane by the world’s onlookers.

It appears that history is repeating itself. Africans are once again victims of another slave trade, actively developing in the Middle East, specifically in Libya where they are reportedly being sold on the open market. They are mostly men, however, who have traveled miles across land and sea to escape hardships in their native African countries, including unemployment on the one hand, and outright war on the other, have found themselves walking headfirst into the trap of the world’s newest slave trade in Libya. News organizations, including America’s CNN news channel, are documenting what is happening there, and legislators here in the U.S. and on the continent, are crying out to end what the West African nation of Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, the chairperson of the African Union, described as a “despicable trade from another era.”

U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) issued a statement demanding quick action on behalf of the international community. “If Libyans cannot end slave auctions, then the international community will be required to step in immediately,” she said, further promising to introduce a resolution this week, “that condemns migrant slave auctions in Libya and calls upon the international community to take immediate meaningful action.”

We agree that this atrocity must end immediately and African-Americans must weigh in.

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