CNN recently released a video of Libyan refugees being sold as slaves at auction. After the Libyan coastguard made the trip to Italy too difficult, the very smugglers they'd paid to get them across the Mediterranean decided to turn around and sell them into slavery instead.

One of the former slaves, a 21-one-year-old named Victor, said that when his money ran out, the smugglers claimed he still owed them and sold him temporarily to pay his debt. When he came back from that job, the smugglers claimed he still owed them money and sold him off again.

During this time he was also beaten, starved, and forced to live in terrible conditions. He ended up giving them over a million naira, or $2,780 before he was released.

Several government agencies respond with immediate action to CNN footage

After the footage was released, the African Union demanded that the people responsible for the slave trade be prosecuted, and Libya announced plans to investigate the slave auctions. They have formed a committee with representatives from every security organization and overseen by the Anti-Illegal Immigration Society.

This seems like an odd choice to have head an organization meant to protect the people they've defined as illegal immigrants. While the committee's first goal is to convict the smugglers and bring refugees to safety, they've also announced that they will be sending the refugees back where they came from.

This is infinitely better than a life of slavery, but immediately sending traumatized people back to the war-torn areas they've risked everything to escape seems unnecessarily cruel.

The same agencies have ignored previous warnings

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), of Geneva, was pleased with the steps taken by Libya, but others wonder why it's taken them so long to act.

According to the Daily Nation, many people and organizations had known about the Slavery In Libya before the CNN video was released. Among them was the IOM itself, which reported on slave markets in April. The head of Medecins Sans Frontieres, a medical charity, wrote an open letter to European governments telling them the refugees were enduring "kidnapping, torture, and extortion."

This news wasn't just coming from outside sources; the West African director of Amnesty International says that there has been the talk of slavery in Libya for "a long time," and some enslaved refugees do make it back home to tell others.

Among them is Karamo Keita, who formed a group in Gambia dedicated to warning others not to go to Libya because of the slave trade. With all this evidence of slavery, some activists wonder why the U.N., the A.U., and the Libyan Government didn't act until footage showed up on an American newspaper's site.