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2014 (Narrative date)

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.

Mebratu* fled to Sudan in February 2012 and describes how police handed him over to traffickers.

Shortly after I crossed into Sudan, two policemen in blue uniforms caught me near Wadi Sherifeh and took me to a police station where they kept me and another Eritrean man from around 6 p.m. to midnight. One of them spoke Tigrinya and told me the police would take me to a nearby refugee camp. Then two policemen drove the two of us for around one and a half hours until we met a pickup truck with four Rashaida in it. They hit us with an iron bar and put us in the back of the pickup and covered us with a big plastic sheet. I then heard them talking with the police for half an hour and then we left and they drove us to a house where they held us for a night before taking us to Egypt.


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