Modern-day slavery certainly exists, but that doesn't make additional reports of it any less jarring. CNN recently conducted an investigation in Libya after overhearing an auctioneer selling two people for 1,200 Libyan dinars, or $800 (US) via grainy cell phone footage.
Of the two, one young Nigerian man was offered up by the auctioneer as included in a group of "big strong boys for farm work."
After traveling to Libya to see for themselves, CNN uncovered harrowing discoveries. Reporters posed as potential buyers and carried concealed cameras into a property where auctions took place.
"Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he'll dig," said a salesman donned in camouflage. "What am I bid, what am I bid?" CNN met with the two men who had been sold, who were so traumatized that they couldn't speak.
These disgusting practices are part of a system taking advantage of tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants who cross Libyan borders looking for a better life. CNN handed over the footage they captured to Libyan authorities who have confirmed they will launch an investigation.
"They fill a boat with 100 people, those people may or may not make it," said First Lieutenant Naser Hazam. "(The smuggler) does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea." Hazam serves under the government's Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tripoli.
One young man named Victory fled Nigeria in hopes of reaching Europe but was captured by smugglers and sold in an auction. Victory was re-sold many times after finally being released and ended up at a detention center in Tripoli where migrants are held before being deported. "If you look at most of the people here, if you check your bodies, you see the marks. They are beaten, mutilated," said Victory.
Per the International Organization for Migration, over 8,800 people have opted to return home via repatriation flights.
"I'm suffering for them. What I have seen here daily, believe me, it makes me feel pain for them," he says. "Every day I can hear a new story from people. You have to listen to all of them. It's their right to deliver their voices," said Anes Alazabi, a supervisor at the one of the Tripoli detention center.