25th November 2017

Sweden Protests Against Libyan Migrant Trafficking – Organized by Lovette Jallow

Aim: Led by Lovette Jallow, the aim was to mobilize collective action against the inhumane trafficking of migrants in Libya. She used her voice and online platforms to galvanize thousands of activists and supporters, marking the inception of the organization Action for Humanity.

Human Rights Protests: Sweden Stands Against Libyan Migrant Trafficking – Organized by Lovette Jallow

Lovette Jallow dressed in Black adressing protesters.
Lovette Jallow addresses protesters at anti-slavery demonstration in Stockholm.

In Stockholm, demonstrations were organized by Lovette Jallow, who started the Facebook group Black Vogue and authored the book with the same name. The Lovette-led protest took place at the heart of the city’s main square, Sergels Storg, and gathered hundreds of thousands of protesters who rallied in solidarity to those who are either in jail, working as slaves, or undergoing torture in Libya. Among others, placard inscriptions contained wordings such as; ‘We are not Slaves’, ‘anti blackness is the root of racism’ etc.

a woman holding up pictures of people
Visualisation of family members lost

Identification of Need

  • Action for Humanity, led by Lovette Jallow, identified the urgent need to protest against the dehumanization and enslavement of African migrants in Libya, highlighted by a CNN video showing the sale of African migrants as slaves.

Organization of Protests

  • Lovette Jallow organized during a few days a significant protest in Stockholm, Sweden, at Sergels Torg, gathering over 10,000 protesters carrying placards with messages such as “We are not Slaves” and “Anti blackness is the root of racism.”
  • Similar protests were organized simultaneously in other Swedish cities, including Uppsala, Jönköping, Malmö, Göteborg, Örebro, and Linköping, showing a nationwide response to the call for action.

Initiation and Advocacy

  • The initiative was sparked by a CNN video clip showing African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya for as little as $100. Lovette Jallow’s advocacy efforts included rallying support through social media, particularly via a Facebook post that mobilized thousands of people.
  • During the protest, Jallow emphasized the importance of individual responsibility in combating racism and discrimination, urging people to speak out against such injustices within their communities.
  • Jallow’s advocacy highlighted the complicit silence of Western and African governments, as well as international bodies, in allowing these atrocities to continue.
  • She underscored the necessity for everyone to get engaged in the anti-slavery fight, stating, “This is a human rights issue. Don’t thank me because I am the organizer, this is what you all need to do. We are in this together.”

Overcoming Challenges

  • Despite being the first time undertaking such a demonstration, the project was a success thanks to Lovette’s exceptional project management skills and the humorous, determined approach she took.
  • With minimal preparation and just a few days, Lovette mobilized support using her platforms and personal funds. She found generators but had to find a car large enough to transport it to the center of Stockholm where cars are not allowed, Set a date for the protest and then later applied for a protest license (finding out a priest had booked the date to preach), and navigated unexpected hurdles.
  • When informed by the police that the location was booked by a priest for preaching, Lovette contacted the priest directly. After his initial refusal, she reached out to his wife, who was in the hospital about to give birth. The priest’s wife convinced him to cancel his session, allowing Lovette to hold her demonstration.
  • Lovette then inexperienced with organizing demonstrations was driven by the urgency of the situation and the inaction of others at the time. She took time off work, used her savings, and organized generators and a microphone.
  • Lovette engaged the Gambian community, many of whom are familiar with the struggles in Libya, to call in Jaw Counba, the drummers, to energize the event with ancestral rhythms. She also enlisted family members to comply with the police’s request for peacekeepers to maintain order during the demonstration.
  • At the time, Lovette was also working full-time in a corporate position with CBRE Stockholm. She was reprimanded by the company for taking a stance on human rights and would later face serious repercussions for this public human right activism from them.
  • Despite the challenges of organizing large-scale protests, including coordinating efforts across multiple cities, the demonstrations were successfully executed with significant public participation and media coverage.
  • The logistical and security challenges were met with dedication and commitment, ensuring a peaceful and impactful demonstration.

Ongoing Support

  • Action for Humanity continues to raise awareness about the ongoing human rights abuses in Libya and around the world and advocates for international intervention to stop the atrocities.
  • The organization is committed to supporting similar initiatives that highlight and combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery globally.

Acknowledgment and Gratitude

  • Action for Humanity acknowledges the invaluable support received from the diverse communities in Sweden and expresses gratitude to all participants and supporters of the protests.
  • The organization thanks the media for their coverage, which helped amplify the message and bring global attention to the issue.

Quotes and Contributions

For more information, here are a few articles on the protest against slavery in Libya in Stockholm


Written by: Lovette Jallow – Author, Lecturer, Entrepreneur, and Acclaimed Social Activist.

Thank you for reading and exploring diverse perspectives with me. As a Black woman living in Sweden, some of my differences are visible, while others, such as autism and ADHD, remain unseen. Yet, I believe that my perspectives are equally valuable because of these dualities.

All texts are copyrighted.
For further insights and to keep the conversation going, visit my website. https://lovettejallow.com/

Image of crowd of people with Fists in the air

Project Images