Africa’s Black Market of Slavery: A Sigh For Dignity

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By Immanuel James Ibe-Anyanwu

Tuesday night, I watched the CNN documentary of African youth sold into slavery in Libya, one of them a Nigerian boy bought at N146,000. He is one of the usual horde leaving for Europe through Libya or the Sahara Desert, who, along the way, are diverted by their handlers as black-market merchandise. While others are held hostage and made to call home for ransom money, those sold into slavery end up as work toys in Libyan farms.

There are others held by Libyan authorities in dingy cells meant for the cockroach. Starved and flogged with electric wires. Abused. Boys, girls. Young Nigerians and other Africans so rid of hope and substance they chose suicide by illegal migration.

Just last week, 26 Nigerian women were allegedly raped and murdered in the Mediterranean, on their way to Europe on a similar mission. That sea, once described as “a huge cemetery of African immigrants”, has claimed over a thousand lives in the past months. I have also a long video of Nigerians roasted and preserved, in mangled formations, by the Sahara sun. They went on foot.

Two things: One, black dignity. Dignity is not a product of loud mouthings to that effect. It is the result of your reputable outing among your fellow men, a reputation linked to the value of your humanity and your role in civilization. Repeat: N146,000. 2017. An African human is sold and resold until he is finally deported, candidate of global news. That image on television—wherever an African stands tall amidst the throng of humanity, that image renders a silent slur. Whenever an African leader struts around the global scene brandishing ostentation and class, that image performs a clap-back.

Second, these stories are not new. So how much Nigerian suffering warrants these insane expeditions by our youth? Just how do you hear about these things and still set sail, after selling off belongings to raise money, believing that your own story will be different?

What poverty generates this kind of idiotic enterprise? What is wrong with Africa?

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