There are an estimated 518,000 people living in modern slavery in Egypt, 465,000 in Sudan and an estimated 451,000 in Eritrea (GSI 2018). Since 2006 tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution have ended up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without any problems and crossed in to Israel. However, since then, Sudanese traffickers have kidnapped Eritreans in eastern Sudan and sold them to Egyptian traffickers in Sinai who have subjected at least hundreds to violence in order to extort large sums of money from their relatives.
Tekle*, a 17-year-old Eritrean boy from Zoba Dobab escaped from Eritrea on April 3, 2012. However, “Rashaida” traffickers transferred him to Sinai two weeks later, where Egyptian traffickers held him for 10 weeks in two different locations together with around 60 other people. When he refused to pay $20,000 to the second group of traffickers, they abused him.
They beat my back and legs and the soles of my feet with an iron rod. They dripped molten rubber on my arms and hung me from the ceiling by my hands or by my ankles, sometimes for an hour at a time. I saw other men die in front of me because they just left them hanging for too long. I was in so much pain that I could only get up by using the wall to support me.
Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch in their report “I Wanted to Lie Down and Die”: Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt