Libya denies slavery trade allegations, saying probe into slave auction footage ongoing

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/12/1 11:51:06

A Libyan official said Thursday that Libya is investigating alleged slave trading and denied allegations of a thriving slave trade in the the North African country.

Addressing a press conference at the Libyan embassy in Attard, Malta, Elhabib Alamin, the charge d'affaires and head of the Libyan mission in Malta, said an inquiry had been launched by the Libyan attorney general.

Both interior and justice ministries had issued statements saying they were working to verify the footage aired by US television network CNN in November of an apparent live auction in Libya where black men were presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as 400 US dollars.

"When you have numbers and statistics you can say that something is a phenomenon," said Alamin. "But there are no numbers or statistics to show this, only CNN's video."

Since the 2011 revolution against Muammar Ghaddafi, authorities have been unable to either protect the borders of the chaos-ridden country, or enforce the rule of law, he said, adding that human smugglers could thus easily bring migrants across the Libyan border.

Even though the video appeared to show migrants being auctioned off, Alamin said it was a common practice for migrants to be transferred from one smuggling group to another en route to Europe.

"Whatever abuse is happening, it does not represent the behavior of the Libyan people. The smugglers are criminals who have even kidnapped Libyans," said Alamin.

Plagued by a civil war, terrorism, political struggles, divided institutions and international interference, Libya can not be expected to solve problems of importance to international community, such as terrorism and people smuggling, he said.

"It's common sense that you can't ask a sick person to assume extra duties. It is not a secret that Libya is not in a good condition, with numerous Libyans suffering from a shortage of money and services," he said.

Posted in: AFRICA

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