Why So Many Celebrities Are Tweeting About Libya

"We must stand up and speak out for our brothers and sisters in Libya."

According to a report from CNN released earlier this month, many West African migrants passing through the north African country of Libya on their way to Europe for a better quality of life, are instead being sold in modern day slave auctions.

The report alleges these people (including refugees) looking to flee persecution, conflict, or famine in their home countries are auctioned off as day laborers and forced to work as farm hands or diggers in order to gain passage to the Mediterranean and beyond.

This Illicit trafficking of human beings took place in at least nine locations throughout Libya, though it's understood there are several additional auction sites as well, many in "seemingly normal towns," according to CNN. "Inside the slave auctions it's like we've stepped back in time, the report, which includes disturbing video of an auction, states. "The only thing missing is the shackles around the migrants' wrists and ankles."


And even after enduring a period of servitude, there's no guarantee the migrants will survive the journey to Europe, or even be placed on a boat bound for the continent in the first place. This is in part because, as CNN noted, a recent clampdown by the Libyan coast guard has meant fewer boats are making it out to sea. In fact, in the CNN story, one migrant from Nigeria who had been "bought" multiple times was waiting to be sent back to his home country without ever having set foot in Europe.

Though the crisis in Libya struggled to gain traction on an international stage loaded with major news stories, many celebrities have begun to speak out about the atrocities occurring in the country, and are now demanding other entities (like the U.N.) and territories take action to put an end to this illegal slave trade.

Check out what some heavyweights are saying on social media, below:

As the Washington Post points out, notable entertainers and personalities aren't the only ones calling for change either. Just last week, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said, "Slavery has no place in our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity." Guterres then implored Libyan authorities to investigate the alleged slave trade as multiple West African nations withdrew their ambassadors from the Libyan capital.

The publication also notes the events in Libya led to protests in various European cities, which have in turn prompted some European officials to step in and intervene. According to London-based journalist Samira Sawlani‏, French president Emmanuel Macron called the situation in Libya a "crime against humanity" and said France is looking to facilitate the return of those in Libya back to their home countries.

The Guardian reports the EU will also likely to provide funding to evacuate the thousands of migrants currently residing in poor conditions in detention camps throughout the North African country.

Cover image via GERARD BOTTINO / Shutterstock.com.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.