African migrants escaping war-torn countries in pursuit of a better life are now being sold in Libyan slave markets, according to a report by CNN.
The news comes as a troublesome CNN video report uncovered a group of African male migrants being sold as farm workers in a Tripoli market. Some of the migrants have been sold for as little as $400, CNN reports.
Human rights group have responded in outrage in the days following the report, calling on world leaders to intervene in Libya’s affairs. The nation has been without a leader since the 2011 outing of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed by NATO forces. On Tuesday, Libyan officials vowed to investigate the matter and urged the African Union to intervene.
The crisis is compounded by the influx of smugglers lawlessly operating in Libya. The country is a prime destination for migrants because of its location near the Mediterranean sea, easily accessible to southern Europe. Thousands of people have made the exodus from Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast,, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.
“I abhor these appalling acts and call upon all competent authorities to investigate these activities without delay and to bring the perpetrators to justice. I have asked the relevant United Nations actors to actively pursue this matter,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in statement to Al Jazeera.
Several celebrities have called on the U.S. and the United Nations to stop the human tragedy from continuing.