The Libya Slave auction and the untold story of Slavery

December 29, 2017 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Ogunniyi Abayomi



“We have been forced to draw carts of lead with ropes about our shoulders…and have carried great bars of iron upon our shoulders. I believe all Christian people have forgotten us in England, because they have not sent us any relief…. now that we have been in slavery”                                                                                                                     

John Wildon, British slave (early 18th century)



An ancient trade was revived in Libya; immigrants are sold and auctioned for slavery to an individual that can afford the price. Immigrants are detained and tortured while their buyer’s negotiate with their oppressor. Immigrants from West Africa are major victims of the callous act in the desert and the Mediterranean Sea which is linked to several European countries.

The grief of the African community, reacting with rage over the act of unlawfully toiling with human freedom, enforced the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS to act quickly, imploring disciplinary measures towards the total banishment of slave auctions across Libya. The immigrants’ tragic story of being detained across the border, starving and hallucinating has not been taken seriously, it’s a sad note that they are treated brutally in detention recording high rates of death in Libya, a formerly known deserted abode converted to a town by the late General Muammar Gaddafi.

The immigrants’ path towards Libya by foot and fleeing to Europe are decisions considered in the negative atmosphere of political and economic instability across Africa. A tale that exposes the negligence of African Leaders towards their citizens and welfare, ensuing they move to a destination, are captured and enslaved while moving to Europe for better opportunities.


Slave auctions are a quick reminder of the barbaric gestures of the Greeks, Romans and Ancients, a transatlantic slavery orchestrated by Europe whereby each individual is bought at a fixed price to work on farmland likewise for an individual who can afford the price. Immigrants are tortured and oppressed, fed with crumbs of bread along with filthy clothes and chains around their neck as a symbol of the insignificant and worthless lifestyle of slaves.

Slavery is a story that cannot be erased from history, countries built their walls and cities via slavery, it was an act that led to great cities and artifacts whereby they became an attraction to tourists globally by the struggle and individual efforts of slaves, building in pain and agony. It has not been discarded among individuals of age, colour and stature, evolving in several methods inspite of the development across the globe.

Slaves’ stories are punctured lines and verses of infliction, pain, misery, agony and defeat, rendering their heart to the sad feeling of despair, asking questions that pertain to their freedom of thought, movement, expression, religion, and speech, likewise the need and desire to work towards their aspirations and ambition against the will and motive of their oppressors.

Slaves are bound to believe and practice the master’s principles, culture, religion and acts, irrespective of whether they are right or wrong. He is suppressed to obey his instructions without questioning his command, irrespective of his views, belief and religion. His master’s ideology he infuses into his consciousness, he is delusive of its own beliefs and he is not permitted to express his mind rather it is the command and instructions of his master he abides by throughout his lifetime until he regains his freedom.

It is a limited atmosphere, carved and designed to oppress their servant, inflict pain upon them likewise the harsh punishment is the gruesome feeling encountered by the victim, the mindset fixed on the diminishing belief as James Baldwin described as a flag or society that has not pledged its allegiance to you. The reality of being seen as minor in a civilized society despite their freedom is the history of being a slave, whereby they are enforced to obey the rules and regulations of a strange land where individuals are considered a minority, clearly evident in Europe and America, likewise African states.

The chain bound technique of the 16th and 17th century was recurrent in the Libya Slave auction of 2017, victims sold to those who purchase them separating the individual from their families and friends, agony and tragedy the tone when parents cannot see their children anymore, husband and wife losing theirs to the whip of hatred and oppression.


Slavery evolved across the Atlantic in the 17th,18th and 19th century, the black race enforced to work on the plantations and farmland of European and American contingents, a process their predecessors had embarked upon to survive. Racism was infused, creating an atmosphere of discord and discrimination amongst tribes, ethnicity, religion and colour within society, the case reoccurring whereby several people are eliminated for speaking against an act.

The aspect of human trafficking hereby Emeka sold all he had possessed to purchase a visa for Ogechi to practice the unforeseen sex trade in Italy is an act of slavery unknown to our consciousness in the 21st century. A flimsy and extroverted agent convincing the beautiful ladies of Benin of the brilliant opportunity available in Italy, she travelled and realised she was enslaved to do menial jobs or carry out illicit assignments, an unseen act of slavery we have neglected and forgotten.

The black races have been the major victim of the agony of slavery. It is a global belief and discarding the fact and knowledge that major European continents have been enslaved across the Northern region of Africa orchestrated by the fierce movement of Alghuzat. They were popularly known as Sales Rover in Britain likewise known as Hornacheros in Spain, acting wild, attacking the Christians and Europeans after its expulsion in 1610 by Spanish King Phillip as the Spanish Moors.

The title was implored by their Islamic brethren across the Northern region of Africa, Alghuzat were seen and hailed as religious warriors fighting against the infidel by the engagement of Jihad. Amidst this chaos was a scene of betrayal among the sailors that transported their European citizens, handing them over to the fierce group, enacting an auction for slavery. The harsh nature of conspiracy and the bizarre attitude of denouncing their identity likewise religion raged profusely and boosted trade across countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya.

An encounter filled with scenes and images of hatred, agony and depression was the description illustrated by the survivor such as Thomas Pellow and Robertson Adam under the supervision of the tyrannical Moulay Ismail, the Sultan of Morocco. Thomas Pellow’s narration of his encounter with Moulay Ismail over British slaves exposed the religious bigotry over the war against the west; many cannot locate their families, a massive exile of slaves travelling in anxiety, enduring the infliction while they fought for their freedom.

History cannot forget the transatlantic experience, the Berlin conference of 1885 that anticipated the move for African society, colonizing and capturing every territory likewise infusing their ideologies to the African continent ensuing we discard our culture and traditions as well as education.

The history of slavery was built on the platform of greed, religious bigotry and ethnic violence globally. The rise of racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry was traced to the harsh and gruesome demeanor of the slave trade encountered by the genealogy of each century across the continent hereby allocating substandard jobs due to the colour of their tribe.

A certain race is employed to serve another, a clumsy knowledge of slavery that was never revealed within the clustered tone of oppression. Slavery exists among us in different veils unseen to us, Libya exposing a little page of the tragic story of slave auctions resurged within the extermination camp of immigrants; however we cannot forget the trafficking of children, an unseen act of slavery within our abode.

Slavery poses a dangerous threat, relative to the act of genocide, it should be banished thereby giving people their freedom.






Ogunniyi Abayomi

Ogunniyi Abayomi was born July 11, 1991 in the city of Lagos, where he resides. A poet and essayist whose works have been published in various journals.

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