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The migrant crisis that is currently ravaging various parts of the world, especially Africa, took a different twist early this month when CNN aired video clips showing African Migrants being sold in an auction in Libya for as little as $400.
Libya is the major connecting point for migrants who are trying to reach Europe through the Mediterranean sea.
Hundreds of thousands drown while undertaking the perilous journey while many end up as slaves in the hand of traffickers in Libya.
In a recent report by Reuters, two Cameroonians — Christelle Timdi and Foka Fotsi — who were among the 250 migrants that were recently repatriated back home by the International Organisation of Migrants, IOM, narrated their ordeals.
Timdi described how kidnappers dressed like Italian coastguards abducted them at sea, and whisked them to a location in Libya where they were allegedly raped, beaten and forced to make calls to their families back in Cameroon to send them money to secure their freedom.
“We tried to hide the younger girls among us. I was heavily pregnant — that’s why I wasn’t raped. And it’s all done in front of others — they say it’s so that you know what will happen to you if you don’t pay up,” she said.
Timdi said that she had not seen the video clips broadcast by CNN, but that she witnessed the trade in humans while in Libya.

“I saw it with my own eyes,” she said, “the place was surrounded by army-style vehicles with guns ready to fire, so we didn’t dare try and escape.”
Timdi said her family paid 1 million CFA francs ($1,800), frantically collected from relatives and friends, to free her.
She, however, added that ransoms were no guarantee of safety as one can easily fall into the hands of another set of traffickers and get re-sold.
“If they send you a good taxi, you’ll arrive at your destination, but if it’s a bad taxi the driver will sell you on to someone else,” she said.
“There are people who have been re-sold twice, three times. And when you call your family to tell them that you’ve been resold once again, no one will believe you, they won’t send more money to free you.”
Timdi was released by her captors in October and gave birth to a baby girl, Brittanie, in a Libyan hospital just days later.
According to Fotsi, who was trafficked two times, the clandestine trafficking networks in Libya comprised many nationalities.
He said the people in charge of one of the places where he was held at some point were Ghanaians and Nigerians.
Fotsi said he left for Europe last year because he was unable to find work to support his family, but he fell into the hands of a Libyan kidnap ring before reaching Europe.
“There was torture like I’ve never seen. They hit you with wooden bats, with iron bars,” he said, removing the hood of his sweatshirt and showing the still raw red wounds on his skull.
“They hang you from the ceiling by (your) arms and legs and then throw you down to the floor. They swing you and throw you against the wall, over and over again, ten times.
“They are not human beings. They are the devil personified.”
Thousands of African Migrants have been returned to their countries by the IOM as part of a voluntary return scheme for migrants stranded in Libya.
The programme, funded by the European Union, provides the returnees with clothing and medical checks, while the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, also received around 400 euros ($475).
“We need to create opportunities for them here,” said Boubacar Saybou, head of the IOM in Cameroon. “That’s what’s important.”

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