Egyptian and Sudanese security officers have colluded with traffickers accused of holding Eritrean migrants for ransom and torturing them, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
Victims accused the traffickers of raping both women and men, administering
electric shocks and burning genitalia and other body parts with hot irons, boiling water and molten plastic, the New York-based rights group said. Migrants said they had been abused for weeks or even months, and several said they had witnessed captives die under torture.
The loosely governed desert region stretching from eastern Sudan up through Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula is a major trafficking route for African migrants seeking jobs. Thousands of Eritreans flee each year, with many heading for Israel.
Human Rights Watch said it had recorded 29 incidents dating back to
2010 in which victims accused Sudanese and Egyptian security officers of
facilitating traffickers' abuses rather than rescuing victims.
"Both Egypt and Sudan need to put an end to torture and extortion of Eritreans on their territory, and to prosecute traffickers and any security officials colluding with them," Gerry Simpson, a senior refugee researcher for the group, said in a statement.
The report is based on the testimonies of 37 Eritreans interviewed by the
international rights group and 22 others interviewed by a
non-governmental organisation in Egypt.