Eritrean Migrants Fall Victim to Sudan, Egypt Human Trafficking Ring

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Written by Makula Dunbar

Written by Laura King | From The LA Times

Scarred, terrified and systematically tortured, the victims of human traffickers in the Sinai peninsula have been largely abandoned to their fate by Egyptian authorities, a leading human rights group alleged in a report released Tuesday.

The report by New York-based Human Rights Watch details a brutal extortion racket in which victims, most of them would-be migrants from Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, are beaten, burned and mutilated by smugglers while their anguished relatives – contacted by mobile phone – are forced to listen to their screams.

If their families agree to wire money to pay a ransom, the report said, the captives may escape further torture. But many simply disappear into desert graves.

Egyptian officials have rejected claims they turn a blind eye to the traffickers’ abuses and have denied that security forces at times actively collude with the people-smugglers in the peninsula, where Egyptian forces have been battling an increasingly sophisticated Islamic insurgency.

[Updated, 9:42 a.m. PST Feb. 11: Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said accusations of complicity on the part of security forces were “nonsense” but that international organizations should do more to help Egypt combat trafficking.]

Read more at The LA Times