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.
Tesfay* recalls what he saw from underneath the canvass in the back of a pickup truck at Egypt’s only bridge for vehicles across the Suez Canal at al Qantara, after being trafficked in July 2011.
We reached the checkpoint at the big bridge [at the Suez Canal] … and I saw three traffickers get out and speak to the police. They checked other cars, but not our truck. The traffickers got back in and we crossed the bridge.
Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch in their report “I Wanted to Lie Down and Die”: Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt