Tags: sinai | slavery | torture | rampant

Report: Slavery, Torture Rampant in Sinai

By    |   Wednesday, 10 July 2013 03:39 PM

Bedouin tribes in the Sinai desert are involved in a human trafficking trade worth millions of dollars, reports the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"Sinai was always a place for human smuggling, but since around two years ago, even a bit more, it started also to be a place of human torture," Shahar Shorham, director of Physicians for Human Rights, told CBN News.

"They torture them in horrible methods, like hanging upside down from the ceiling, like using electric shocks, like burning them on their bodies," he said.

One man told CBN that "in some cases, we were tortured simply because we were Christians."

In many cases, refugees who have fled the brutal dictatorship in the African nation of Eritrea wind up in a U.N. refugee camp in Sudan, from which they are kidnapped by a Bedouin tribe. The tribe then transfers the victims through Sudan, Egypt, and all the way to the Sinai desert and their torture camps.

There, the victims are forced to call their families and ask for ransom money, usually far more than most Eritreans can afford.

"The ransom fees can go up to $40,000 for an individual and even $50,000, and until the ransom fees are paid, the people will not be released," Shorham explained. "The financial burden on the families is devastating."

Many of the Eritreans, some of them Christian, do not survive. "There are around 7,000 that went through these torture camps and 4,000 that died. Those are huge numbers and I don't think that the world needs to keep quiet about that," said Shorham.

"The only way out of this problem is for the international society or the international community to put pressure on the Egyptian government to release the victims, to stop these human traffickers," human rights activist Majed El Shafie told CBN News, adding that the location of the camps is well known.

Shafie argued that some of the U.S. financial aid to Egypt could be used –with conditions — to help these victims and urged Americans to contact their elected representatives and senators.

"You can show them that you care about these issues," he said. "If you send an email, or fax or make a telephone call, he can save a life.

The CBN report comes as members of Congress debate what to do with Egypt's $1.5 billion in foreign aid after last week's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. U.S. law requires the suspension of taxpayer funding to countries where a democratically elected government is deposed by a military coup.

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Bedouin tribes in the Sinai desert are involved in a human trafficking trade worth millions of dollars.
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 03:39 PM
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