USA for IOM Marches Against Slavery in Los Angeles
Los Angeles – This past weekend (27/01), USA for IOM, the non-profit partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), joined the “March Against Slavery in Libya and Beyond” in Los Angeles, California. The march organized by activists Sahndra Fon Dufe and Angelique Mendes aimed to raise awareness of migrants being abused and exploited in Libya and other countries around the world.
In November 2017, CNN reported that African migrants were sold off as slaves in Libya for the equivalent of approximately USD 400. Earlier in 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, had sounded the alarm on the existence of markets under slave like conditions along the migratory route through Libya and reported harrowing testimonies shared by African migrants in Niger and Libya.
“We are horrified that migrants are exploited and enslaved and we condemn it in all its forms in Libya. IOM is working closely with national authorities and with countries of origin to disrupt this human suffering along the migration route exploitation and assists the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time and calling for the protection of all victims and migrants. Today, we are glad to see that members of the civil society are also joining these efforts and taking action to denounce and demand the end all forms of modern slavery worldwide,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, CEO of USA for IOM.
In 2017, IOM helped over 19,000 migrants out of Libya. Upon their arrival back home, the most vulnerable migrants also received psychosocial support. Additionally, all migrants were given a small allowance to cover their immediate needs such as transportation, clothing and housing once they arrived. In 2018, IOM is continuing voluntary humanitarian return operations from Libya and providing tailored reintegration assistance to re-establish themselves socially and economically within their communities.
In Los Angeles, USA for IOM was represented by one of its board members, Tolu Olubunmi. “The world was shocked and outraged by the photos and videos of an existing modern-day slave trade,” Olubunmi said. “This weekend, passionate and vocal supporters of the Anti-Slavery movement turned their outrage into action and marched in the streets of LA and in other cities around the world. These rallies are a testament to the global support for eradicating this worst kind of evil and restoring hope to its victims,” she added.
Dall’Oglio warned that “as long as migration remains under the management of smuggling and trafficking networks, we will continue to see desperate individuals being abused throughout their migration journey.” However, he added that “by facilitating and encouraging alternative modalities for regular, documented and safe migration channels, we will be better equipped to address human rights violations and to combat more effectively transnational criminal networks preying on the migrants.”
All proceeds from anti-slavery t-shirts sales and donations received by the “March Against Slavery in Libya and Beyond” are to be donated to USA for IOM to support IOM’s relief efforts in assisting and protecting vulnerable migrants in Libya and other transit countries.
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