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Adut Ageny

There are an estimated 465,000 people living in modern slavery in Sudan (GSI 2018). Between 1983 and 2005, the central government of Sudan enslaved tens of thousands of black South Sudanese Christian and traditionalist people. It was part of a genocidal war against South Sudan, with a simple aim: to force South Sudan to become Arab and Muslim. Adut Ageny was abducted from her village and held in enslavement for five years when she was a child.

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There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Lebanon (GSI 2018). Men, women, and children among the estimated 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are at high risk of sex trafficking and forced labour. There are some restrictions on Syrians’ ability to work legally in Lebanon and the enforcement of visas and residence permit laws increase this population’s vulnerability to trafficking. Syrians are commonly involved in the exploitation of other Syrians in Lebanon, particularly targeting refugees fleeing the conflict. Syrian children are reportedly vulnerable to forced early marriages—which can lead to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour—and children displaced within the country continue to be subjected to forced labour, particularly by organized begging rings.  At the age of nine, Asseel* left her native Syria with her family, leaving behind friends and loved ones as the war ravaged her country. Her family began a new life as refugees in Lebanon.

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Egypt is a source, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation. The local dimension of human trafficking includes child labour, the sexual exploitation of children, the sale of human organs, and various forms of prostitution. Children are forced into domestic service, street begging drug trafficking, quarrying, and agricultural work in the country. NGOs report the lack of economic and educational opportunities cause family members to subject women and girls to sex trafficking to supplement family income, and in some cases women and girls are raped to coerce or forced them into prostitution.  Child sex tourism occurs in Cairo, Alexandira, and Luxor and Egyptian women and girls are purchased for 'temporary' or 'summer marriages' for the purpose of commercial sex, including sex trafficking, and forced labour. Egyptian adults are subjected to forced labour in construction, agriculture, domestic work, and low-paying service jobs in the region. Refugees from Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen who have settled in Egypt in Egypt are also at an increased risk of trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage, and sexual exploitation. When the civil war in Yemen erupted in 2015, Yehia’s parents advised him to flee to Egypt to avoid conscription by one of the warring factions. Having arrived in Cairo via Sudan, Yehia contacted a smuggler who promised to take him across the sea to Italy. He was taken to a beach near Alexandria with other travellers and boarded a small boat, but the smugglers turned out to be gangsters who robbed the passengers and were going to put them ashore when the Coast Guard arrived and rescued them. Yehia was sent back to Sudan and tried a second time to get to Italy, but this time he was kidnapped and detained on a farm in the Egyptian desert.