At least three Ghanaian migrants have reported being among those who were auctioned as slaves in Libya, Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has revealed.
The claimants whose identities are yet to be established, are said to have told Ghanaian officials that they were abducted by their captors after they ran out of funds to continue their journey across the Maghreb region into Europe.
Video footage of migrants sold in apparent slave auction in Libya provoked worldwide outrage, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres urging the international community to unite in fighting this scourge.
In the grainy mobile footage, unidentified men are offered up as a group of “big strong boys for farm work” for as little as £300, international broadcaster, CNN reported.
Some 168 Ghanaians were early on reportedly caught up in the situation but authorities have confirmed that these Ghanaians are being kept in formal detention centers in Libya due to non-possession of proper travel documents and are awaiting deportation.
In a statement Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said the detainees were arrested on “illegal immigration charges and were already being held in detention camps.”
The matter is said to be key on the agenda at the ongoing fifth African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The summit, which took off Wednesday, November 29 and expected to end on Thursday, the 30th, is themed: “Investing in youth for a sustainable future”.
Other priorities of the EU-Africa partnership to be discussed include governance and democracy, human rights, migration and mobility, peace and security, investment and trade, skills development as well as job creation.
At the summit, African and EU leaders will discuss the future of EU-Africa relations and focus on investing in the youth. This is a key priority for Africa and the EU as 60% of the African population is under the age of 25.
The AU-EU summit will be a key moment and opportunity to strengthen political and economic ties between the two continents.
2017 is a defining year for EU-Africa relations, as it has been ten years since the adoption of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.