Eritrea: new trend in trafficking

Eritrean Initiative on Refugee Rights (EIRR) today reported on an alarming new trend in trafficking of Eritrean refugees fleeing dictatorship in their country. The Initiative that has been logging and monitoring the situation of Eritrean Refugees stated that refugees in Sudan are being lured by scrupulous traffickers who promise to take them to Europe via Alexandra in Egypt for a price of $7500per person. However once out of Sudan and in the desert they are then asked to pay more for the remainder of the journey, with beating and threats of torture similar to the horrific situation in the Saini.

Thousands of young Eritreans leave Eritrea every month escaping the indefinite national service that every citizen under the age of 50 is forced to undertake, in contradiction to the legally mandated 18 months. Many of these refugees end up in refugee camps across the border in refugee camps in Sudan and Ethiopia. However a rising number also try and leave the region in search of better prospects, this situation is often exploited by human traffickers who lure refugees with promises of easy passage and then hold them for ransom demanding large amount of money. The practice that was frequented by human traffickers in the Sinai has resulted in the rape, torture and extortion of thousands of Eritreans many of whom are currently in Egypt and Israel. 

Since the erection of walls on the border with Israel and unrests in Egypt the route via the Sinai has become impossible for traffickers to navigate and the refugee route was diverted via Libya through the Mediterranean. It now appears that Egyptian traffickers are also seeking to have a control over this route and capitalise on the desperation of refugees fleeing Eritrea.

Currently 9 Eritrean refugees that we know of are being held near Alexandria of Egypt after they paid $7500 each for a safe passage to Europe via Alexandria in Egypt and are being beaten and tortured for a ransom demand of $7500. Meanwhile many Eritrean families are calling to ask for their missing loved ones who left Alexandria on a boat on June 6 2014


Eritrean Initiative on Refugee Rights (EIRR) is refugee information and support service ran by Eritrean Journalist, Meron Estefanos of Radio Erena

For further information please contact Meron Estefanos on +46737444385 or