Libyan rights group accuses CNN of exaggerating migrant slave markets

Libyan rights group accuses CNN of exaggerating migrant slave markets

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday he was horrified by video footage showing migrants sold as slaves in Libya and that these auctions should be investigated as possible crimes against humanity.

The Libyan Government of National Accord announced it will launch a probe into media reports that African migrants are being sold as slaves in the country, days after the airing of a CNN report on the issue.

USA television network CNN aired the footage last week of an apparent live auction in Libya where black men were presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.

"A high-level committee has been convened encompassing representatives from all the security apparatus to oversee this investigation", Anes Alazabi, an official with the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency, told CNN.

The AU chairman, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, demanded prosecutions over a "despicable" trade "from another era".

Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest against slavery in Libya, according to French police. This has provoked violent reaction to indignation in Africa and the United Nations.

The war-torn nation has always been a major hub for desperate migrants hoping to reach Europe and many have fallen into the hands of traffickers.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that there are 700,000 to one million migrants in Libya, and more than 2,000 have died at sea this year.

Since the fall in 2011 of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, the smugglers, taking advantage of the security vacuum and impunity in Libya, promise to tens of thousands of people seeking a better life a gateway to Italy, which is 300 kilometres from the libyan coast.

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