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.
Negassi* was fleeing Eritrea when he was kidnapped by Smugglers in Sudan and transferred to Sinai. He was subjected to physical abuse and torture for a year until he paid their ransom.
I am a [male] citizen of Eritrea. I came to Israel to work. I know that my stay in Israel is illegal and that I entered it illegally. I am not willing to return to Eritrea now. I want to say that in Sudan, the smugglers kidnapped me and transferred me to Sinai. In Sinai I stayed for a whole year and underwent severe physical abuse, including torture by electrocution. They also dripped melted plastic on my body and I received beatings […]. I was also chained with a metal chain for a whole year. The smugglers forced me to pay a total of $36,000 to release me and transfer me to Israel.
Narrative as featured in the report ‘Tortured in Sinai, Jailed in Israel: Detention of Slavery and Torture Survivors under the Anti-Infiltration Law’ made possible by The PME Foundation