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.
Hamid*, a 22-year-old Eritrean man, was trafficked from Sudan to Egypt in June 2011.
A few dozen of us were crammed into the back of a pickup truck with canvass on top of us. When we reached the Suez bridge, some of us could see through some holes in the canvas. I saw three of the traffickers get out and speak with the police who were at the checkpoint before we crossed the big bridge. We saw the police were checking some of the other cars but they didn’t check ours. The kidnappers got back in the truck and we drove over the bridge.
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