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.
Winta* escaped Eritrea to Sudan for the second time in 2012. However, she was kidnapped and held by smugglers, subjected to sexual abuse daily. Winta was held until her family paid a ransom to free her.
I am not represented. I am 18 and single. There are seven members in my family. My father passed away in 2012. I stopped my studies in 2011. I first infiltrated Sudan in 2011 but I was deported. I spent eight months in jail in Eritrea for the escape attempt. In May of this year I again infiltrated Sudan. I would like to say that I underwent severe sexual abuse by the smugglers who raped me numerous times. First, they took me to work, and then the rape began. All of them raped me. They raped me every day. I will never forget what I went through in Sinai. I was there for three and a half months. My family had to pay about $30,000 to the smugglers for my release. I met the social worker in prison but I did not tell her everything.
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