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Labor Market

Human Trafficking in the Sinai: Refugees between Life and Death

To give victims of human trafficking in the Sinai Desert a voice, Mirjam van Reisen, Professor of International Social Repsonisbility, and Dr. Conny Rijken, Associate Professor of European and International Law, contributed to the report 'Human Trafficking in the Sinai'.

The crisis of trafficking refugees in the Sinai Desert started in 2009. The refugees include men, women, children, and accompanying infants fleeing from already desperate circumstances in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. An estimated 95% of the refugees held as hostages in the Sinai (also referred to as hostages) are Eritreans.

Smuggled across borders by middlemen or kidnapped from refugee camps in Ethiopia and the Sudan as well as their surrounding areas, and then captured or sold, the refugees are held hostage close to the Israeli border in inhumane conditions and tortured for ransoms up to USD 50,000. A large number of the refugees have died, either while being held hostage or after their release – often even after their ransom has been paid. A large number of refugees simply 'disappear': they are killed while being held or shot by the Egyptian military guarding the border with Israel after release.

For more information, download the report.