Modern day slave trade

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Sunday Iabarot, age 32, showing the cruel scars he bears from his former captor.

Emma Guenther, Staff Writer

In the past five years, roughly 650,000 people have crossed the Sahara Desert from various African countries in hope of find a better life in Europe. However, tens of thousands of these individuals are instead being extorted, imprisoned, forced to do manual labor, trafficked, and sold as slaves. To put this number into perspective, there are more than three times as many enslaved people today as were sold in total during the transatlantic slave trade, which lasted for over 350 years. According to an economist at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy named Siddharth Kara, the modern slave trade is far more profitable than it has been at any other point in history. The most obvious signs of contemporary slavery may be in Libya, where slave auctions have been documented. One man was advertised as a “digger” and sold for the equivalent of only $400. Another man by the name of Sunday Iabarot reached the southern border of Libya on his journey to a better life, and after getting into what he thought was a taxi to the capital city, he was sold for $200 to another man, forced to work off his alleged “debt,” and then resold, a cycle that he and many others would become trapped in. After being rescued, Iabarot said that “if you work hard, you get bread. If you refuse to work, you are beaten. If you run away and get caught. . .” He didn’t finish the sentence, but a large scar remains on his face as punishment for his own attempt to escape. According to Iabarot, his captor used a fire-heated knife to carve a crude number 3 into his face. In November of 2017, CNN aired footage of African migrants being sold at a Libyan slave auction, and various presidents and organizations condemned these inhumanities and demanded that action be taken. It’s now 2021, and this issue is still extremely significant, although it barely even seems to be discussed and much more needs to be done. More awareness must be raised surrounding the modern slave trade, and it is imperative that world leaders and organizations take immediate and effective action to help these victims.