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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.

Petros*, a 43-year-old Eritrean man was travelling with his wife and four children when they crossed to Sudan in May 2011. There, Sudanese traffickers kidnapped and held them for 65 days before moving them to Sinai. There, he said traffickers held them for 25 days and tortured him and other Eritreans. After Petros paid the kidnappers $14,000 they released him.

At around 8 p.m., two of the Bedouin who held us took 15 of us—nine Sudanese and six Eritreans—to the [Israeli] border in two cars where we met two Egyptian soldiers. We all sat together for about half an hour and the soldiers took us to the Israeli fence and showed us where to cross.

*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