AN HONEST CONVERSATION ABOUT THE SLAVERY IN LIBYA


Image shot by me at Saatchi gallery over summer.




I  think I have mentioned a few times that I am Nigerian and I lived there until I was 14. I am from a part of Nigeria that is known as a hotspot for human trafficking and watching the report by CNN on slavery in Libya struck a chord with me. Now more than ever I am aware of how privileged I am, and I feel helpless because there is nothing I can do that can alleviate the suffering of those affected. 
Growing up trafficking was something we were all aware of, people from less privileged backgrounds were more susceptible, and with time it became somewhat acceptable, and we all became desensitised to it because we all acknowledged that if you were not born into privilege or a criminal, the chances of success were slim. We all heard horror stories and read autobiographies of people who had survived ordeals trying to reach Europe in search of opportunities. People who knew they would become prostitutes if they reached Europe but still sold all they had to be able to embark on a journey they knew might not have an end, people who were aware of some of the horrors that occurred en route but still sacrificed their lives just to be provided with a chance at a better future. 

I remember reading a book called "The return of Amenze" which was the first time my 11-year-old brain understood the horrors that were involved, constant rape, bribery, surviving a journey on a packed lifeboat, only to be sold to someone you had to work for to pay out of your slavery. It never left me and this summer when I visited Saatchi gallery to view the images of some of the immigrants trying to make it to Europe I felt the same way, but I had no idea the extent it had reached.  

Finding out the extent to which slavery is occurring in Libya hurts on a level I can not begin to describe, it could have been me or people that I know, we were just fortunate to be born into opportunity, where the thought of sacrificing our lives is not better than our present situations. The sad truth is that our countries have failed them, for many, there are no opportunities and even the slight chance that an opportunity presents itself, that opportunity is stagnant. No guaranteed progress. We need to do better, as a continent, a country, as people. We need to help in whatever way we can. 
Please sign the petition here
and see details of the march here and please spread the word.