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Ivorian migrants confirm existence of Libya's migrant slave markets

Migrants returning to the Ivory Coast to be repatriated reveal the horrors of the migrant slave trade.

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Ivorian migrants confirm existence of Libya's migrant slave markets

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Ivorian migrants returning from Lybian detention centres have confirmed the sale of slaves in the North African country.

A total of 155 returned to Abidjan on Monday night, each with a tale to tell.

Trying to make their way to a new life in Europe, they were often abused by smugglers and blocked by Libyan authorities.

The Ivorian government regularly repatriates returning migrants, but since CNN published areport on the migrant slave trade in Libya, their testimonies have started to really hit home.
Diabz Baba, a migrant returning from Tripoli said: “They sell Africans in Libya, they sell men over there.

“Even 15 year old Libyans, they are in their car, armed, they come and kidnap you, sell you for 200 dinars or 100 dinars and then others re-sell you, that is the truth.”

For the director of Ivorians living abroad, Issiaka Konate, who has worked in the field for years, the revelations published by CNN come as no surprise

He said: “It’s an open secret which means many people knew about what was going on in Libya. We have talked about this repeatedly with sensitive people in Ivory Coast during our campaigns by talking about the abuse of migrants and the abuse of women in particular.

“We have made a big issue of the fact that it is high time that, in our country, we open our eyes and we understand that irregular migration is not only about the tragedy of deaths, it is about other tragedies.”

The revelations have brought yet more scrutiny on a country already in crisis. Demonstrations sprung up outside Libyan embassies in France, Mali, Guinea and other sub-Saharan African states. Burkina Faso recalled its ambassador to Libya, while the UN General Assembly president Peter Thomson condemned the “appalling” slave auctions.