The Arab slave trade originally began in the 9th-Century in the Swahili Coast Area of Southeast Africa, encompassing what is today known as Kenya, Tanzania and the Northern part of Mozambique. It was there where the Arabs began treating various sub-groups of Bantu Peoples throughout the continent as Slaves, trading them and working them as such. The Arab slave trade would later become notorious for encompassing many regions with it’s “Market of Slaves”, when it expanded to cover various town and Ports in the regions of North Africa, West Africa, The Horn of Africa, The Arabian Peninsula and The Indian Ocean.
This legacy of crimes against humanity continues even today, and in recent weeks, photos of Migrants attempting to make their way from various African nations, to Europe have caused uproar and shock on a worldwide scale. The reason? The photos are of the said Migrants getting snatched in the midst of their journey only to be auctioned off as slaves in Libya. Libya has, in a sense denounced responsibility for the atrocities currently being committed on it’s soil. Libyan officials have stated that Libya and its citizens are already going through their own difficult time and that the country in not equipped to deal with this issue at present, calling on other nations worldwide to provide their support on the issue. The Libyan officials also pointed out that, in their opinion the real issue here is to find out what drives these Migrants to leave their home countries in the first place, and find solutions to those problems. The latter part of the statements put out by Libyan officials are incredibly disturbing, as they wish to address certain “root causes” in other countries, but not their own. For example, one deep-rooted issue that could be leading to this enslavement is the social issue of racism. Perhaps Libyans are racist, and that is one reason why they believe that it is acceptable to mistreat Black Africans in such a manner. Perhaps Libya’s poverty issues have led people to this point, to degrade and sell humans to make a profit in a disturbing effort. There is no denying that we must find out why these people are seeking a better life, but that does not justify the atrocities that they are being subjected to along the way.
However, it is my belief that reacting to Libya’s comments will only waste valuable time. We as a world must reach out to our world leaders, and powerful organizations to end the legacy that is slavery, and make it history for good. This is not an issue where we can afford any neutral parties, it’s time to take a stance on the issue, that has always been there, and now that it is out in the open, the world has the power to condemn it. Speak out, post about it, rant about it, start a petition, even the smallest effort makes a difference if we are all participating.