Open Menu


2012 (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.

Asmarina* was travelling to Israel for work when she was kidnapped by smugglers and held in Sinai for five months, subjected to physical abuse, rape and torture. Asmarina was only released once she had paid the smuggler’s ransom

I am citizen of Eritrea. I came to Israel to work. I stayed in Sinai for five months. The smugglers chained both of my legs with a metal chain. During this whole period I received beatings with a hose. I received the beatings around my back, arms and thighs. Also, the smugglers would electrocute me, and as a result, I would pass out. I would also like to say that for five months, the smugglers and the Eritreans who were tied with me raped me. There were seven Eritreans who raped me. I was raped while I was chained. Every day they raped me. Every day there was someone else who raped me. In some of the times, the smugglers would put their genitals in my mouth until I would choke. Also, they forced me to lick their semen. None of the smugglers used contraceptives, but the smugglers did give me birth-control pills, each time before the rape. They themselves told me it was a birth-control pill. I would like to mention that the Eritreans who had sex with me did it against their will – the smugglers would force them to rape us, and the smugglers would watch the rape. Any Eritrean who did not want to have sex was beaten by the smugglers. Eventually, I paid them $36,400 to release me and smuggle me to Israel. If I had known that I’d have to go through all of this suffering, I never would have dared to come to Israel. I know that my stay in Israel is illegal and that I entered it illegally. I am not willing to return to Eritrea now.

*name given


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