Resolution Condemning Libya "Slave Auctions" Passed in U.S. House

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Bass on the House floor.

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning the migrant slave auctions in Libya that were exposed by a CNN International report in November of last year.

Rep. Karen Bass, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, introduced the resolution last December.

“Slavery is a crime against humanity and we cannot sit idly by while people around the world are exploited,” Rep. Bass said. “In November, CNN broke a story about modern-day slavery in Libya. I am proud to lead this body today in responding to this human rights abuse. Today, we respond not just on behalf of ourselves, but on behalf of all Americans. Slavery of any kind has no place in our modern world.”

The resolution condemns slave auctions and the exploitation of migrants and refugees as forced laborers in Libya and also calls upon all parties to the conflict, including parties to the Libyan Political Agreement, to:

Investigate and eradicate slave auctions and forced labor involving migrants and refugees.

Manage migration flows and migrant detention centers in a humane manner.

Investigate how funds earned through the transfer, sale, and exploitation of migrants are used and the extent to which such profits are fueling and prolonging Libya’s civil conflict.

The resolution also calls on the United Nations to:

Investigate allegations of the slave trade and other forced labor in Libya.

Advocate that all parties to the conflict in Libya allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to regularly monitor and publicly report on the situation of all refugees and migrants, including those in detention centers.

Expand sanctions under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2174 (2014) against individuals and entities responsible for slave auctions and forced labor of migrants and refugees in Libya.

The resolution was introduced in early December by Rep. Bass and a bipartisan coalition of more than 51 Members of Congress.

Following the introduction of the resolution, Rep. Bass, Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX) and the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) sent a letter to Libyan Ambassador Wafa Bughaighis demanding an immediate investigation into the existence of slave auctions and forced labor.

Later that month, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), led by the CBC Task Force on Foreign Affairs and National Security, met with Ambassador Bughaighis to follow up on their letter and to discuss progress made since the release of the CNN report.

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