OPINION: Slave trade a blight on humanity’s progress

There’s always something that can be done to combat issues such as slavery

For some, it’s hard to fathom the reality that there exists a thriving slave trade.

After CNN’s report of Africans being auctioned off for work, then to be resold in the market, many countries and world organizations expressed outrage. As they should.

What does it take to have a slave? A cool $400 for some.

The reality that African migrants in Libya are being sold for work is heartbreaking to say the least. It’s a blight on the history of the world.

Supposedly the slave trade was abolished many years ago, although human trafficking has been going on for many years since.

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, just about every country is affected by this type of crime. Now, thanks to the advent of small, high quality video cameras auction footage is seeing the light of day.

What is tough to reconcile is seeing African families; men, women and children, many of whom are migrants looking for work in Europe, being put on the auction block. Young African men are offered up by smugglers who show off their muscles. They’re a commodity. A possession. Being human is secondary.

Haven’t we already written this story?

Slavery is a shameful reality that some places pretend wasn’t as bad as it actually was. One Texas schoolbook, titled, Patterns of Immigration in McGraw-Hill Education’s World Geography, described slaves as workers in a caption on a map.

Likening forced slavery to immigration patterns and those slaves being workers is a stretch to say the least. The publisher has since apologized and promised to make necessary changes to the caption.

Minimizing the reality to make it seem less than what it was is part of the problem.

The very idea of people being sold against their will so others can profit should be abhorrent to say the least. There’s not enough words in the English dictionary to describe this terrible reality.

Sadly, these migrants, if they are found are then sent back home. Any hopes of a better change dashed because of bureaucratic black and white.

Perhaps worse is the fact that many of these individuals’ countries are aware of what’s happening. They have a responsibility to their constituents to ensure their protection and education.

So far it’s the Rwanda government that has stepped up to the plate to take care of these migrants, promising to accept 30,000 into its country.

This is a tough reality to understand in North America and the chances of us doing much to change what’s happening in Libya are slim.

We live in a country where our healthcare is a right, where provinces have employment standards and where we fight for the right to work in a safe environment.

This is not to make us feel guilty for something that we are proud of and should have a right to, but it’s perhaps a reminder that it’s worth speaking up for others.

We may not be able to make immediate change to help migrants in Africa but we can sure speak up to our Members of Parliament.

There are Africans being sold as slaves folks. Slaves. Speak up! Don’t let our leaders forget that this is important to us.

Allowing this crime against humanity to continue is not what we are about.

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