Migrant slave labor in Libya hot topic at European, African union summit

Migrant slave labour was the hot topic at the fifth summit between the European Union and the African Union.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged stronger support for Africa’s fight against undocumented migration, days after reports about migrant slave markets in Libya caused an international outcry.

Holding migrants “in the most terrible manner in camps” or “trading” them needed to be prevented, Merkel said in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan, where more than 80 European and African leaders are scheduled to talk about migration, security and youth development.

A CNN report earlier this month cast a spotlight on human rights abuses in Libya by broadcasting footage of African migrants being auctioned off as slaves in the North African country, for as little as 400 dollars.

Europe and Africa now shared “a common interest in stopping illegal migration and creating legal opportunities for people from Africa, to be trained, to study in our midst,” Merkel said.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari meanwhile vowed to bring home all Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya and other parts of the world.

He pledged to improve the delivery of basic services, including education, health care and food security, to reduce the number of Nigerians taking the dangerous route through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean towards Europe.

The EU is hoping economic support to Africa will lower the number of people migrating through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean — considered the world’s most dangerous migration route — to Europe.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said this week that the number of dead or missing migrants in the Mediterranean has risen above the 3,000-mark for the fourth year in a row.

Creating good economic frameworks were key to a country’s progress, Merkel said, promising that Germany would offer Ivory Coast — which hasn’t received development aid from Germany for years — increased support.

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