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.
Hyiab* paid to be smuggled from Eritrea to Israel, however on the way she was held captive for eleven months, tied up and beaten. She was only able to escape after paying the smuggler’s ransom.
I am not represented. I repeat what I said in the hearing. I am 22, single and have one child. I entered Israel through the Egyptian border. I paid money to be smuggled into Israel. I am healthy and I don’t have medical problems. I understand that I entered Israel illegally and that my stay here is illegal. I came to Israel to live here and to work. I am not interested in returning to Eritrea. I would like to state that I was severely abused on the way to Israel. The smugglers kept me in captivity for 11 months. They tied my arms and legs. They beat me a lot. They did not give me enough food. They electrocuted me. I forgot how to speak due to all of the beatings. I paid $22,000 to be released. They burned me with hot coals. During my stay in captivity, I had to do cleaning work. I do not feel well and ask to see a doctor. I’m interested in meeting 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