PARIS - France called Wednesday for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss slave-trading in Libya following video footage showing Africans being auctioned off in the war-torn country.
"France decided this morning to ask for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss this issue," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament.
"We are doing it as a permanent member of the Security Council. We have this capability and we are using it."
US television network CNN aired footage last week of an apparent auction where black men were presented to North African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday he was horrified and that the auctions should be investigated as possible crimes against humanity.
AFP correspondents spoke to a number of black African men in Cameroon this week who also reported being slaves in Libya, which has descended into civil war since the Western-backed overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
"It was total hell," said Maxime Ndong, one of 250 migrants who arrived in Cameroon on Tuesday night on a plane chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to bring home migrants.
"There is a trade in black people there. People who want slaves... come to buy them," he said.
"If you resist, they shoot at you. There have been deaths," added Ndong, who spent eight months in Libya.
Another migrant, 22-year-old Sanogo, said he had been caught by people who said they were police before being sold to a slave trader. He was then forced to work on a tomato farm.
African music and football stars have expressed their outrage at the revelations, including Ivorian reggae singers Alpha Blondy and Tiken Jah Fakoly, as well as footballer Didier Drogba.