By Ellen McGirt
Updated: November 30, 2017 11:25 AM ET

There is an active slave trade happening in Libya, right now. The reports and images are absolutely shocking.

Fortune’s Grace Donnelly has put together an essential explainer, which will get you up to speed. It’s a complicated story, and at a time when the news feels uniformly shocking, has not gotten the attention it deserves.

The situation is a deadly confluence of factors, complicated by Libya’s fractured government and a steady influx of migrants coming in from Nigeria. From her story:

Recently, with help from Italy, the Libyan coast guard has been capturing vessels smuggling people into Europe. It’s estimated that between 400,000 and 1 million migrants may now be trapped in Libya, where the vulnerable population is preyed upon by smugglers and other criminal elements who rob, rape, and murder them.

“We cannot even guess the scale of the abuses inflicted on migrants in all these hidden places, untouched by the rule of law,” U.N. human rights commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Huseein said in a September statement. “The situation of migrants crossing Libya was appalling during Gaddafi’s era, but it has become diabolical since.”

While there are some celebrity voices raising funds and awareness, most remedies will necessarily involve political action, donations to aid agencies or direct lobbying. Click through for Fortune’s vetted list and suggestions.

The issue is staggering. Some 40 million people are currently enslaved worldwide. By way of benchmark, that is more than one and a half times the total number of people who are employed by Fortune 500 companies.

Speaking of which, Donnelly mentions some ways that corporations can begin to think more strategically about the way they may be inadvertently supporting the slave trade:

It’s been reported that Facebook, for instance, was reportedly used by smugglers to broadcast videos of migrants held against their will. There’s another side to that coin: People wanting to help can seek out companies that combat slave labor in the supply chain.

Is this on your organization’s radar? Be sure to let us know.


You May Like