Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Africa celebrated a continent marred by criminality, slavery and human-organ theft

23 Jun 2020 at 13:23hrs | Views
Nomazulu Thata
On the 25th of May the African time stood still: The rich continent was celebrating the 57 years of its existence: on this day, the AU acknowledges its successes and challenges. The continent has a history of 300 years colonialism, white minority dominance, political enforced prejudice, and apartheid from Cape to Cairo. Africa Day is a time to reflect the passages of historical interest and timelines: a time to respect heroes and heroines who fought for our country's liberation, some were incarcerated, tortured, murdered on behalf of the general oppressed peoples.

Themes to mark the special events differed in every country to the other, depending on what was of historical relevance at the point in time. Some of the themes were silencing the gun; creating conducive conditions for Africa development and the implementation sustainable development goals: SDGs.

Without any doubt, Africa is divided into three distinct subcontinents: In the North we have the Arab-speaking region whose culture and traditions are distinct different from the rest of Africa. South Africa's independence is engulfed in 25 years of xenophobic activities whose message clearly indicate that South Africa is a sub-section of the continent dissociating itself with the rest of Africans in the Sub-Sahara continent hence the murder of black foreigners who made their way from their respective countries to find greener pastures in a newly found black government in South Africa.

In between is the Sub-Sahara Africa; the term "Sub" either means emerging economies or undeveloped nations: to put it kindly they will also say: third world countries. However, the migration caused by internal and external displacements and civil wars in their respective countries, citizens from the Sub-Sahara are pushed and pulled by established economic advantages of Arab African countries in the north and South Africa in the south. The African migrants are not welcome either in the African Arab countries or in South Africa. Celebrating Africa Day becomes ironic in the sense that remembering the Day exposes the duplicity of three existing distinct sub-continents of Africa.   

The Arab spring saw established dictatorships fall; some countries were replaced by much repressive governments. Libya is one example of an Arab spring that failed the citizens of Libya. The political uncertainties caused by removal of Colonel Ghaddafi in Libya led to it to becoming a failed state. The fragile state of Libya enables migration to Europe: currently there is no stable government to control such heinous activities taking place on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The porous borders of North African state Libya are infested with criminals and slave traders who target and capture desperate and vulnerable Africans in the desert for sale in slave markets of North African countries.

Citizens in transition are mostly from Nigerians, Ghanaians, and most west African countries. Out of social and economic desperation fleeing war of Bokko Haram east of Nigeria, political persecution, economic dysfunction from their country of birth, both men and women are lured to take the risk by trans-Sahara smugglers, drug-, and human traffickers to make the perilous journey to Libya. Upon arrival or just before they arrive in the city, they will have been sold and bought several times. They a placed in camps and are then sent for sale to the markets as possession with a fixed amount of price tag. A man could be sold for about $400 US dollars.  

More than half a million Black migrants crossed over the Sahara Desert on their way to Europe the past five years and are trapped in Libya and are treated as chattel. Women are bought by brothel managers as sex slaves in their brothels and without payment. The IOM reports that thousands of women are constantly sold, and they face horrific abuses beyond any comprehension. Armed groups and corrupt officials take advantage of their vulnerability, are lucrative commodities or livestock for sale.

Modern slavery, according to the Time magazine is far away the most lucrative business. It is estimated that slavery today is 3 to 4 time more than the Trans-Atlantic slavery 350 years ago. The trade in human trafficking and slavery in north African markets and elsewhere in the world thrives exponentially whose profit is well over 150 billion US dollars a year. It is not possible to trace criminal syndicates who connive with corrupt officials to conceal atrocious activities of human trafficking and slave trading.  
The European Union policies have changed considerably after the 2015 influx of millions of refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East-Syria and Afghanistan and some parts in Africa, making it impossible for black migrants to enter the shores of southern Mediterranean Sea. Stringent measures from EU do not deter migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea. About 80% of the women who manage to reach the southern European countries immediately fall victim of sexual slavery and live a life in the streets and brothels of Europe.

There is blackmail by African female relatives living in Europe who lure their relatives to come to Europe to work in "hair salons, cleaning toilet jobs in department stores and hotels." When they arrive in Europe, it turns out that it was fake promises of jobs offers. Instead, they will be confronted with a staggering bill of about 20,000 Euros sometimes even more. To pay back this debt means working in their brothels for a period of about 5 years, some may not be lucky, are caught and repatriated back to their home countries.

Alongside slave trading is organ trading in north African countries. Some migrants who are not so lucky are taken in for their organs for sale. The victims of organ trade are citizens from Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea. On their way on foot, trying to migrate to Israel, they are caught by criminal syndicates at the Egyptian port of El Arish. They will be sent to clandestine places where they are forced for "clinical" operations to remove their organs and there is no payment for them, they are left to die after the operation. The organs targeted are corneas, livers, and kidneys and are harvested while they are still alive. They are drugged and are cut open their stomachs removing the organs. They are left to die and dumped in a deep well along with hundreds of other bodies: according to CNN report.

The charity organisation called the New Generation Foundation followed criminal cases of organ theft in Egypt and took photos of corpses with distinct scars in the abdomen area. Examining the corpses it was evident that the organs were removed. Some corrupt doctors in Egypt are connected to these criminal gangs of organ-trade. Organ theft has become one of the most lucrative, illicit trade behind drugs, slavery, prostitution, and weapons trade.  
The African countries blissfully celebrated their Africa day, nothing was told about the plight of our young Africans who are victims of our failed African governments. The young men and women leave the continent in search of better life elsewhere in South Africa, North African countries, and Europe. That they will be caught and sold, packaged as commodities for sale was not known prior to perilous journeys to North Africa in the hope of getting to the shores of Europe seeking liveable conditions for them and families left behind.

Apparently, the AU is not addressing the plight of displaced citizens internally and externally.  Immediate concerns of migrants who are in dire straits in slave camps in Libya and North African countries remains unnoticed, it is not given special attention, not spoken about by our African governments. It should shock African Presidents to realize that there are more than half a million migrants trapped in Libya and something must be done to assist them as a matter of urgency.

These young Africans need us, need our attention to solve their problems of desperation and destitution: give them hope and future, they deserve better. The African continent belongs to the young generation, needs this young but are reduced to slavery because in their countries of birth are failed governments, there is not future to talk about.  

Africa is a continent blessed with abundant resources; it is a curse to realize that our young citizens are not beneficiaries of these resources. Curiously, China is busy looting African resources with assistance of corrupt leaders, and it does not shame African leaders to give preference to China to loot African resources at the detriment of its citizens: owners of natural resources.
I have contacted Professor Lumumba from Kenya. I asked the lawyer to give his voice to slave trade and organ theft and criminal activities taking place in the African continent. He needs to speak to the African Presidents when they all meet in Addis Ababa. Something must be done to stop slave trade in Libya. Something must be done to stop organ theft happening in north African clinics and hospitals. I am sure he will address this issue when an opportunity avails.

Source - Nomazulu Thata
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.