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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.

Teodros*, a 20-year-old Eritrean man who reads and speaks Arabic said he was taken to Sinai in November 2008, where traffickers held him for nine months near the town of Arish.

During the first week I escaped through a hole in the shower wall and ran until I reached a town. I saw the name “Arish” many times. But soldiers saw me and took me to a checkpoint. They didn’t ask me any questions and said I could not leave. I saw them make phone calls. One hour later the main trafficker holding me arrived. I saw him give one of the soldier’s money and then they handed me over to him and he took me back. He shouted at me, saying ‘I had to pay a lot of money to get you back.

*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