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.
Senait* was kidnapped in Sudan after leaving Eritrea. She was held for three days in Sudan and then transferred to Sinai where she spent six months chained, beaten and raped. Senait was only released after paying the smuggler’s ransom.
I am a citizen of Eritrea. I came to Israel because the smugglers kidnapped me in Sudan. I planned to get to Sudan from Eritrea. I know that my stay in Israel is illegal and that I entered it illegally. I am not willing to return to Eritrea now. I would like to say that in Sudan three smugglers kidnapped me. I stayed with these smugglers for three days. After that, they transferred us to Sinai. I stayed in Sinai for six months. My legs were chained with a metal chain. I was also beaten with a stick by the smugglers. They also burned me with melted plastic. Also, I was raped for two months. Four smugglers raped me. Their names: Jinji, Michael, Fox and Heitham. They all looked like Bedouins, sometimes two smugglers would rape me every day, and at times just one of them. They raped me every day for two months. They did not use contraceptives. I did not say anything about this in the hearing because I was not asked about it at all. Eventually, I had to pay $28,300 [for my release – HMW]. My family in Eritrea paid the money.
Narrative as featured in the report ‘Tortured in Sinai, Jailed in Israel: Detention of Slavery and Torture Survivors under the Anti-Infiltration Law’ made possible by The PME Foundation