Open Menu


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.

Sheshy*, a 17-year-old boy from Eritrea’s capital, Asmara fled to Hafir in Sudan in August 2011 where “Rashaida men” kidnapped and transferred him to traffickers in Sinai who abused him for eight months until his relatives paid $13,000.

They hung me by my arms, and upside down by my ankles. They beat and whipped my back and head with a rubber whip. They beat the soles of my feet with rubber tubes. They put water on my wounds and then beat them. Sometimes they shocked me with electricity, burnt me with hot irons, and dripped melted rubber and plastic on my back and arms. They threatened to cut off my fingers using scissors. Sometimes they came into the room, took the women out, and then I heard the women screaming. They came back crying. During the eight months, I saw six others die because of this torture.

*name given

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