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.
Madihah* defected from the Eritrean army and was kidnapped by smuggler at the Sudan border and then taken to Sinai. Madihah was subjected to physical and sexual abuse, and forced to work as a cleaner.
I am a citizen of Eritrea. I defected from the army and planned on getting to Sudan. The Bedouin smugglers kidnapped me in the desert, on the border between Eritrea and Sudan, after I had crossed to Sudan. After that they took me to their place in Sudan, where I stayed for a week, and then they transferred me to Sinai by car. In Sinai, I stayed with a smuggler named Abdullah for six months. I had to pay a very high sum of money for my release. I underwent physical and sexual abuse. The smugglers also chained both of my legs with a metal chain. They also blindfolded me with a piece of cloth, so that I didn’t see any light for five [meant, six. Error of the Tribunal is due to faulty copy from a previous protocol – HMW] months. During that whole time I received beatings with a stick and shoes. I received the beatings on my head, back and my entire body. They also dripped melted plastic on my body and I have burns [the detainee shows burns on her arms – Tribunal note]. I also suffered from hunger and thirst, they gave us food one a day – pita bread. I also had to work as a cleaner in Sinai for the last month of my stay there, after I had paid all the money to the smugglers. I did not receive any pay for my work. I cleaned bathrooms at the homes of the smugglers.
I would also like to say that in Sinai I was raped three times by one of the smugglers named Min’am. He would come to me, release me from the chain, and supposedly ask me to help him with the cleaning. He brought me to his house and there, after I finished cleaning, he wanted to rape me in the mouth, but I did not agree, so he beat me hard and then raped me in a regular way [vaginally – HMW]. The rape lasted about 15 minutes. This smuggler came back twice more and took me to his home, where he beat me and raped me in a regular way. He did not use any contraceptives. The clinic here examined me and told me that I’m not pregnant.
Eventually, I paid them $35,000 to release me and smuggle me to Israel. My family in Eritrea collected and transferred all the money to the smugglers. I did not plan on coming to Israel. I know that my stay in Israel is illegal and that I entered it illegally
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