Paul Pogba’s goal celebration has raised awareness of slavery in Libya more than any international organisation in the world.
Several reports from international organisations and media houses were made before but the awareness never reached the majority.
However, Pogba’s goal celebration in Manchester United’s match against Newcastle at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago has made slavery in Libya known almost everywhere in the world.
The midfielder celebrated his goal by crossing his hands, held them aloft and mimicked a man in chains.
In an interview with Goal, Itayi Viriri, head of online communications at International Organisation for Migration (IOM) – a UN body – said interest in the slave trade has increased 100-fold.
“There has been a 100-fold increase in interest in this after the simple gesture Pogba made,” said Viriri.
“He could have celebrated any other way that he wanted but he chose to do that. That resonated so much with so many young people around the world – especially people who look like him and whose background could be like his.
“What it meant was that most people who follow football around the world and the young people who adore these football stars like Pogba had their attention piqued.
“These young stars can mobilise so many young people around the world and get so many people interested in a topic that a few weeks ago no one really knew or cared about.”
Pogba was supported in this campaign by Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal and Valencia’s Geoffrey Kondogbia. Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyate and Cote d’Ivoire’s Cheikh Doukoure also followed the suit.
Meanwhile, more than 80 African and European leaders met in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Wednesday and Thursday last week for the fifth annual African Union – European Union summit and the top agenda was the issue of slavery.
French president Emmanuel Macron, confirmed that the Libyan government would assist in identifying the camps where migrants are being detained and will initiate a “transit and departure” facility.