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.
Semira* paid to be smuggled in to Israel, however on her way she was chained up and tortured.
I am not represented [by a lawyer]. I repeat what I said in the hearing. I am 22 and single. I entered Israel through the Egyptian border. I paid money to be smuggled into Israel. I am healthy and I don’t have medical issues […]. I understand that my stay in Israel is illegal and that I entered it illegally. I came to Israel to live here and to work. I am not willing to return to Eritrea. I would like to share that I underwent abuse on my way to Israel. I was chained in metal chains. I was electrocuted. They touched my body. My family had to pay a large sum of money for my release – about $36,000. The abuse lasted for three months. I was not forced to work. I was tied and the smugglers beat us and touched us in different places. I would like to see a doctor. I am suffering from hypertension and dizziness. I want to see a social worker.
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