Eritrean slaves held in torture camps in Sudan and Egypt
Hundreds of Eritrean refugees have been enslaved in torture camps in Sudan and Egypt in the past 10 years, enduring weeks or months of violence and rape and extorted by traffickers often in collusion with state security forces.Sudan and Egypt are ruled by Muslim governments that do not seem to have a problem with slavery even in the modern world. It is a rich tradition especially in North Africa where Europeans were captured and turned into galley slaves into the 17th century. They would be chained to the oars of the galley and not allowed to leave to relieve themselves so they were sitting in their own mess until they died and were replaced.
Some of the refugees have died, and many have been scarred for life – both physically and psychologically – as a result of mutilation, burning, beatings and sexual assault, according to dozens of testimonies collected by Human Rights Watch in a report published on Tuesday.
The report, I Wanted to Lie Down and Die: Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt, says state authorities have failed to identify and prosecute perpetrators, and have often colluded with them in the kidnap and abuse of refugees.
Traffickers demand ransom money to halt the torture, either from therefugees or from their relatives, who are forced to listen to their loved ones screaming down telephone lines. Even after money has changed hands, traffickers sometimes sell refugees on to another group rather than release them.