Last year, CNN conducted an investigation in Libya following reports of a slave market there. With cell phone audio, the network showed footage an auctioneer selling two Libyans for 1,200 Libyan dollars (about 900 USD). The investigation shed light on the striking issue of modern day slavery, a fate apparently suffered by many migrants and refugees as they make their way through Libya towards Europe.
Although the slave markets have faded from the spotlight, the United Nations this week released a report that revealed armed groups continue to execute, torture and hold "open slave markets" in Libya with impunity, according to the Libyan Express.
According to the European Union, migrants and activists alike were subjected to “unlawful detentions, abductions, torture, forced labor and sexual and gender-based violence."
Earlier this year, Reuters reported on released pictures of an execution carried out a man was assumed to be special forces field commander Mahmoud al-Werfalli of the Libyan National Army (one of the forces fighting for control of the country).
“Extrajudicial and unlawful killings are rampant,” said Andrew Gilmour, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.
But a Libyan official clapped back, saying that the killings and slave markets aren't the country's fault.
“Libya is a victim of illegal migration, it is only a transit country and cannot shoulder all responsibilities," Adel Shaltut, charge d’affaires at Libya’s mission to the U.N. in Geneva, said. "Our coast guards and border guards do not have capacity to face organized crime and terrorism."
Human Rights Watch Libya researcher Hanan Salah spoke up against the "raging impunity" of the violent acts, and asked the U.N. when it planned to do more than issue reports.
"Given the gravity of the situation on the ground in Libya, how can this council justify the lack of a dedicated monitoring and reporting mechanism?" Salah asked.