JERUSALEM (JTA) — African migrants trying to cross from Egypt into Israel have been abused and held for ransom by Bedouin smugglers in the Sinai Desert, according to a new report.
The report issued Tuesday by the Israeli advocacy group Hotline for Migrant Workers presented information gleaned from the testimony of 60 migrants, who discuss being beaten, raped and held for ransom in the northern Sinai.
The organization estimates that about 1,000 migrants, mostly Eritrean, have been held in abusive conditions for months. The Bedouin smugglers contact their families for ransom money.
Some 13,600 mostly economic migrants crossed into Israel from Egypt in 2010; some are refugees from Sudan.