Video: 'The smugglers in Niger sell you to Libyan slave-dealers'
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Modibo, a 16-year-old Malian who arrived in France a few weeks ago, wants to warn those in western Africa planning to come to Europe about the reality of travelling via Libya.
“You mustn’t venture there,” he says about Libya. “You mustn’t cross this country. You become an animal there.”
Modibo knows what he’s talking about; he’s lived through it. Currently hospitalised in France after being subjected to numerous acts of torture, he is keen to alert migrant populations about the dangers of slavery which, according to his knowledge, start in Niger. This is where the fate of the migrants is sealed, he explains off-camera.
In Niger’s town of Agadez, a human-trafficking hub, the smugglers “who come to collect you in the pick-up trucks [to cross the Sahara desert] have already sold you” to Libyan slave-dealers, Modibo recounts. “In Niger, it’s already too late,” he reiterates. “Soon you’ll become an animal because over there you are treated like an animal.”