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Libya, a country that once had one of the highest standards of living in Africa, has been a lawless land controlled by armed militias since October of 2011. Before the fall of the country, the leader of Libya was a revolutionary dictator named Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi ruled over Libya with a steady and firm hand and helped other countries in their fights for liberation. In 2003, President George W. Bush negotiated an agreement with Libya. The deal was that if Gaddafi gave up his weapons of mass destruction, he and his administration wouldn’t depose him. However, that all came to an end when President Obama decided that there needed to be a change in leadership in Libya. With support from NATO, Obama had bombing campaigns in Libya and eventually overthrew Gaddafi. He was killed by the Libyans shortly thereafter. However, with Gaddafi out of the picture, and no new leader, armed militias started forming, and these rival forces would turn a once prosperous country into a hellscape. Civil war and chaos erupted in Libya, and refugees are scrambling to escape to Europe. In an interview published in 2016, Obama said that his worst mistake as president was “failing to plan for the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya” (Obama). Now, refugees trying to escape this country and migrants searching for refuge are being sold into slavery. Due to Obama’s interference and facilitation, extremists now run the country, and slavery has been brought into the modern world.     After Gaddafi’s death, the government became weak, and so did the economy. Now there are two rival parliaments in Libya. This fractured government occurred because the results of the parliamentary elections held in 2014 were debated. The government that was in charge at the time refused to release their power and didn’t leave the capital city, Tripoli. Then the new parliament, which is recognized by the UN,  moved to a new city, Tobruk, and created their rival government. Due to forty years of an authoritarian rule, “they were unable to forge compromises and build a new state based on the rule of law” (“Why is Libya so Lawless?”). Before the uprising, Libya had free healthcare and free education. Now, the country is facing a financial crisis. The country’s oil production almost stopped completely, yet has recovered over the years. Banks don’t have much money, and people are turning to the black market for goods. More importantly, food prices have sky-rocketed, and hospitals have a scarce supply of medicine. Although there are governments in Libya, armed militias hold the real power. Both of the capital cities of the rival governments, Tobruk and Tripoli, are on the northern coast of Libya. Because of this, the southern part of Libya is completely overrun by rival militias. An estimated 1,700 armed groups emerged to take control of the country since the fall of Gaddafi. To fight these uprisings, the U.S. has authorized at least four known airstrikes in Libya since 2015. The UK and France have had special operations in Libya, but the details remain unknown. Due to the extremists and the crippling economy, many Libyans are trying to escape to asylum in Europe. To escape, these migrants need to be trafficked. These traffickers will drive them across the barren desert and will waste no time. If someone falls off the speeding truck, they will not stop for them, leaving them to die alone in the desert. If the migrants don’t have enough money to pay for their escape, the traffickers force them, men, women, and children alike, into slave labor.     The human traffickers force people trying to escape Libya to work, and they often sell them as slaves. The reason that so many migrants come through Libya is because it is the main way to get from Africa to Europe. Once there, they need to make an intrepid voyage across the Mediterranean Sea from Tripoli to Italy. According to the International Organization for Migration, 150,000 people have made the dangerous journey each year for the past three years, and 3,000 people have died trying for the past four years (“Migrant Drownings Top 3,000 for 4th Straight Year”). The migrants are forced into work to pay for the journey to freedom. They don’t know how long they’ll be detained until they can continue on their journey. This life is even worse for women. To pay their for their trips, most of the women are forced to work in the sex industry. On November 13th, 2017, CNN released a horrific video that showed a dozen migrants being sold at an auction in a matter of minutes. The traffickers treat the migrants like animals and being beaten and controlled by other human beings. These people suffered torment like being shocked with electric cables, burnt, and whipped. They are “being kicked and having guns shoved in their faces for non-compliance and disobedience” (Van Heerdan). Many migrants die this way, and even the families of those who are alive assume that they are dead. If they even are able to work to pay for their whole journey, they still have risks in getting to Europe. While the journey across the sea into Europe is treacherous, the migrants might get caught by the Libyan police at the border before they can get onto the water. If they get caught, they are sent to detention centers where thousands of men and thousands of women, the centers separated by gender, are cramped and are forced into terrible living conditions. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Libya chief Roberto Mignone stated that “serious human rights violations and sexual assaults are committed there” (“Libyan path to Europe turns into dead end for desperate migrants”). When they are released from the detention center, they are deported back to their homes. Most of them spent their life savings escaping their country and slaved for more funds to be sent to a better live just to be sent back to a country that they wanted to escape. They have all lost a lot, if not everything, and are returning to nothing.     These migrants will continue to try to get asylum in Europe from their war torn countries, but some will unfortunately fail. Even if they get to the border of Libya, they could get detained and deported back to their home. This brings them back to square one, but with no money to help them. It is truly a devastating circle of life that won’t get better in the immediate future. This is unfortunately because the UN and the Libyan government are saying that the video CNN got of a slave auction isn’t enough evidence. Hundreds of Africans are bought, sold, and tortured in Libya, and the world leaders aren’t doing anything about it. All of this grief and devastation can be drawn back to Obama’s poor foresight during the Gaddafi debacle. The United States, under the leadership of Obama, deposed Gaddafi after he got rid of his WMDs, even when the U.S. said that they wouldn’t under Bush. Since we back-stabbed Libya, how likely do you think North Korea would be to deactivate their missiles? There are no greater violations of human rights a human dignity this. The first African American president of the land of the free and the home of the brave has facilitated slavery of Africans in the modern world.     

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