World leaders call for stop to 21st century sale of human beings after video shows slave auction in Libya

The scene appeared lifted from a mid-19th century New Orleans market, with an auctioneer soliciting bids from would-be slave owners.

But the video was shot with a cell phone, and the footage taken from a slave sale in current-day Libya where African migrants seeking freedom were instead peddled as property.

The clip quickly caused a global furor, with world leaders at the African Union-European Union summit in the Ivory Coast this week committed to combatting the 21st century sale of human beings.

“Slavery has no place in our world and these actions are among the most egregious abuses of human rights,” declared U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres before the two-day session.

French President Emmanual Macron said European and African leaders pondered the right way to pursue and arrest those dealing migrants as slaves — including smugglers with links to terrorist groups.

All human traffickers would be targeted with “military and police actions on the ground to trace back these networks,” he said. “It is not a question of saying that we will declare war.

“But there is stronger police action that must be done to dismantle these networks.”

The CNN report shone a spotlight on the slave trade, starting a global wave of unanimous condemnation.

The stunning, surreptitiously-shot video obtained by network reporters captured a slave-peddling salesman in a camouflage outfit taking bids on human beings.

“Does somebody need a digger?” the auctioneer asks. “This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig. What am I bid? What am I bid?”

RELATED: Migrant boys in Italy tell of 'hell' in Libya

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Migrant boys in Italy tell of 'hell' in Libya
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Migrant boys in Italy tell of 'hell' in Libya
Ebrima Sanneh, 17, from Gambia exits a room at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Sanneh arrived in Italy this year by boat from Libya. "They rob you and take your money, or if they see you have no money on you, they kill you," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant sits on his bed at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ebrima Sanneh, 17, from Gambia uses a laptop at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Sanneh arrived in Italy this year by boat from Libya. "They rob you and take your money, or if they see you have no money on you, they kill you," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant collects laundry at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A wardrobe is seen at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant washes his face at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Migrants study at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon, 17, from Nigeria poses for a photograph in his room at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant studies at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A placard that reads: "All men are equal, it is the same life told in a thousand different ways", is seen at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Migrants are seen in their room at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant takes a picture of another migrant with his smart phone at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant prays in his room at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon, 17, from Nigeria touches his head at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon, 17, from Nigeria shows a wound on his leg at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Ebrima Sanneh, 17, from Gambia uses a laptop at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Sanneh arrived in Italy this year by boat from Libya. "They rob you and take your money, or if they see you have no money on you, they kill you," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Ebrima Sanneh, 17, from Gambia walks to an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Sanneh arrived in Italy this year by boat from Libya. "They rob you and take your money, or if they see you have no money on you, they kill you," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon, 17, from Nigeria is seen at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 22, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon, 17, from Nigeria sits in the courtyard at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon (L), 17, from Nigeria sits in the courtyard, as others play soccer, at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES?
Migrants spend time on a balcony at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A migrant plays with a ball at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Augustine Okukpon, 17, from Nigeria is reflected in the sunglasses of a friend at an immigration centre in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, Italy April 20, 2016. Okukpon arrived in Italy from Libya. He says that his five months stranded there was a nightmare. He was repeatedly attacked and chased by the street gangs and was relieved to climb onto a rubber boat and set off for Europe even if it meant risking his life at sea. "In Libya there are all those Asma Boys, street boys. They said they don't need any blacks in Libya," he said. REUTERS/Tony Gentile SEARCH "TONI CHILD" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Estimates for the number of migrants stranded in fractured Libya run from 400,000 to 1 million. Since the toppling of Libyan strongman Moammar Khadafy’s regime in 2011, the rise of unchecked rogue militias created endless national complications.

At the crux of the issue are the hundreds of thousands of migrants trapped in Libya during their desperate treks for a better life outside their homelands.

Passage through the North African nation is generally the path taken by migrants headed across the Mediterranean Sea for refuge in Europe. And roughly 3,000 die annually as they cross the sea.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called Wednesday for the return home of all his citizens stuck in Libya.

“Some Nigerians,” he noted, “were sold like goats for a few dollars in Libya.”

With the return Tuesday of 242 migrants, more than 4,000 stranded Nigerians were brought back this year.

The foreign affairs minister for Burkina Faso, angered by Libya’s role in the sales, ordered his Libyan ambassador to return home.

The EU, the U.N. and the African Union did announce plans to establish a special task force empowered to protect migrants and refugees “along the (escape) routes and in particular inside Libya.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose nation has brought in 1 million migrants and refugees since 2015, added her voice to the call for action.

“It’s very important that we simply support Africans to put a stop to illegal migration, so people don’t have to either suffer in horrible camps in Libya or are even being traded,” she said at the start of the summit.

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