In my own words

“I was beaten with an iron bar and then with rubber.”

Testimony collected 15.06.2018

Ahmed*, 20 from Sudan

I was beaten with an iron bar and then with rubber, while the men filmed and laughed at me. They were filming to force my family back home for money, for my freedom. They kept sending videos and images of them beating me daily, demanding more and more money. This all happened in a house, in Sabha almost a year ago. I started my journey in Al-Qatron, in Libya. I went there for work, but when I arrived, I was auctioned off to other men by light-skinned men. I was sold for 1,000 Libyan dinars.

The man who bought me, continued with the beatings, every day. Barely any food, only salt water and crackers. That he threw at me and I ate them off the ground, like an animal. I only asked for food. Anything you ask for, I was hit. Prison would have been better than this man’s house. It was a hole. I suffered so much there.

Once I saw a man, a friend of the owner of me, he was drunk. He came to this house and took some other black men to his truck, and shot them. After they died, a friend and I had to pick up the bodies and bury them. I had to stay with him until I paid my way out. I finally made my way to the sea, after six months with this horrible man. I understood the risk of taking this passage. One thing I didn’t, that it would take three/four days to Italy. We were told it would take a couple hours to freedom. I had no idea the crossing would be so large. I thought it would be small, where you get on the boat and sail for a few hours and see land.


*Name changed
Photo & Interview: Kenny Karpov