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A Report on Modern Day Slavery
Aired November 15, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: The issue of modern day slavery is our focus today on CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz. We`re glad you`re watching this
Slavery is officially illegal in every nation on earth. But that hasn`t stopped it from happening. We`ve reported that there have been more
slavers worldwide in recent years than there have been at any time in human history.
How many exactly? It`s impossible for governments to know for sure. It`s a crime slave traders want it to stay hidden, different studies have
different definitions for slavery. There aren`t reliable statistics.
But there are estimates, and there`s a new report out on the issue that was produced by a United Nations Labor Rights Agency, and an international
volunteer group working to end slavery. It indicates that as recently as last year, there were more than 40 million victims of slavery worldwide and
one in four of them were children.
The largest part of modern day slavery, according to the report, is made up of people who are forced to work. There are an estimated 25 million slaves
in forced labor, most of them are threatened or pressured to work on farms, in construction and manufacturing, in mining and other businesses. Almost
5 million are in forced prostitution. In addition to that, the report says more than 15 million people worldwide were victims of forced marriages.
In terms of where people are enslaved, the continent of Africa accounts for most of the world`s slaves, followed by Asia and the Pacific region, then
Europe, and finally the Americas.
Many of these slaves are migrants, people who leave their home countries, fleeing dangerous conditions or looking for somewhere better to live.
CNN recently found evidence of the ongoing slave trade in the North African nation of Libya. The country has struggled with political and stability
since a civil war broke out there in 2011. Its security situation has gotten worse. Its living conditions have gotten worse. And it`s become a
major hub for migrants and refugees who are trying to get across the Mediterranean to Europe.
It is here in Libya that CNN reporter Nima Elbagir witnessed a slave auction taking place.
SUBTITLE: Unknown location, Libya, August 2017.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man addressing an unseen crowd.
Big strong boys for farm work, he says. Four hundred. Seven hundred. Seven hundred? Eight hundred.
The numbers roll in. These men are sold for 1200 Libyan pounds, $400 a piece.
You are watching an auction of human beings.
Another man claiming to be a buyer. Off-camera, someone asks, what happen to the ones from Niger?
Sold off, he`s told.
CNN was sent this footage by a contact. After months of working, we were able to verify the authenticity of what you see here. We decided to travel
to Libya to try and see for ourselves.
(on camera): We`re now in Tripoli and we`re starting to get a little bit more of a sense of how this all works. Our contacts are telling us that
there are one to two of these auctions every month and that there is one happening in the next few hours. So, we`re going to head out of town and
see if we can get some sort of access to it.
(voice-over): For the safety of our contacts, we have agreed not to divulge the location of this auction, but the town we`re driving to isn`t
the only one.
Night falls, we travel through nondescript suburban neighborhoods, pretending to look for a missing person. Eventually, we stopped outside a
house like any other.
Adjust our secret cameras and wait.
Finally, it`s time to move.
We`re ushered in to one of two auctions happening on the same night, crouched at the back of the yard, a flood light obscuring much of the
scene. One by one, men are brought out as the bidding begins.
Four hundred. Five hundred. Five-fifty. Six hundred. Six-fifty. Seven hundred.
Very quickly, it`s over.
We ask if we can speak to the man, the auctioneer, seen here, refuses. We ask again if we can speak to them, if we can help them. No, he says. The
auction is over we`re told.
And we`re asked to leave.
(on camera): That was over very quickly. We walked in, and as soon as we walked in, the men started covering their faces, but they clearly wanted to
finish what they were doing, and they kept bringing out what they kept referring to in Arabic as al buda (ph), the merchandise. All in all, they
admitted to us that there were 12 Nigerians that were sold in front of us, and I honestly don`t know what to say. That was probably one of the most
unbelievable things I`ve ever sene.
SUBTITLE: Treeq Alsika migrant detention center, Tripoli, October 2017.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): These men are migrants with dreams of being smuggled to Europe by sea. They come in their thousands from Niger, Mali, Nigeria,
It`s hard to believe that these are the lucky ones, rescued from warehouses like the one in which we witnessed the auction. They`re sold if those
warehouses become overcrowded or if they run out of money to pay their smugglers.
If these rescued men so many here say they were held against their will. It doesn`t take us long to find victory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No food, no water, nothing.
ELBAGIR: Victory was a slave.
(on camera): We know that some people are being sold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
ELBAGIR: Some people are being sold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
ELBAGIR: Is this something you`ve heard about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
ELBAGIR: Can you tell us about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. I was sold.
ELBAGIR: What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On my way here I was sold.
If you look at most of the people here, if you check their bodies, you see the marks. They`re beaten. Mutilated. You understand? Most of them lost
their lives there.
I was there, the person who came to buy me, give them the money. Then they took me home. So, the money wasn`t even that much.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): As the migrants now start to come forward with their stories --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They took people to work by force. Even when we were at the seaside port.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you are working. When you are doing their work, they will be beating you. They will be maltreating us.
SUBTITLE: Immigration officials, Tripoli, October 2017.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I promise you, I will take care of your husband --
ELBAGIR: Anazir Hasabi (ph) is the supervisor here. With no international support, it`s his job to look after the captured migrants until they can be
deported. He says every day brings fresh heartbreak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m suffering for them. I am suffering for them. What they have seen here daily, believe me, they make me really feel pain for
them. They come on, every story is a special case. A few, there was abusing them, few is they stole their money.
ELBAGIR (on camera): Have you heard about people being auctioned off, about migrants being sold?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, we hear the rumors, but there is nothing that`s obvious in front of us. We don`t have evidence.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): But we now do.
CNN has delivered this evidence to the Libyan authorities who have promised to launch an investigation, so that scenes like this are returned to the