Will he be forced to choose the Mediterranean again?
“It’s an area where people are sold, just as slaves were sold in the past and taken on slave ships. For slave traders, black people like me are reduced to a commodity for sale, ”says Omar and continues:
“There was a huge building, a hangar with around 350 to 360 people. Women, men, children. They had been inside the hangar for a year, two years, three years. I could see that many were undernourished. Many were ill. The white macaroni were all there was to eat, morning and night. There is no medication or medical help. People died from lack of food and from disease.
“Women and men have been raped.
“Torture was common. And those who practiced the torture were always our own compatriots. These people work for the Libyans.
“A group of men had the task of making us call our families to ask them for money. Outside the hangar, there was a small house two by three meters, that’s where the calls had to be made.
“In particular, those who could not get money were subjected to violence and torture. They had to be “treated”. This can take two to three months.
“Most of them are dead.
“This is how traffickers work when it comes to kidnapped children. The children are forced to call their parents, who are of course mad with despair and say to the children, “Where are you? Where are you? We’ve been looking for you for over two months.
“The child is crying on the phone. Sometimes they abuse the child by calling parents on Facetime. Then parents see their children’s suffering with their own eyes and naturally do everything in their power to raise the money.
“Even if someone manages to pay, there is no guarantee that they will survive. Because they can either die or be kidnapped by someone else. Or like a woman in my group: she paid but still hasn’t been released, and she was raped every night.
“The traffickers said, ‘Call your family and tell them to send USD 5,500 (around NOK 48,000).’ I said, “But I have no one to call. They pushed me for days. To show what happens to you if you don’t call, they torture and kill people in front of you.
“Finally, I said they could kill me or let me pay by working.
“The next morning one of the Libyan men arrived. I told him in Arabic that I had no one to call. The man from my home country threw a shoe at me and said, “Don’t say that, I’m going to kill you. I replied: “No problem, just kill me” and I said to the Libyan: “I can work. He said, “We don’t need this, we need the money.
” He left.
“The man from my home country continued to harass me for a week. Then one day, making sure the others were watching, he warmed up a piece of iron, asked me to put my hands behind my head … “
Through my computer screen, I see Omar crossing his hands behind his head …
“… like that, and then he put the hot iron on my arm, here …”
He points his finger and I see a large scar on his forearm.
“… and he said, ‘If you don’t call, we’ll hang you tomorrow.’
“I had long lost all hope. I replied to the man, ‘Just hang me.’ He tied my hands. The arm with the injury swelled.
“After a week I was told I could work for him. I started by washing the toilet. I worked without pay for over seven months.
“But I survived.”