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10,000 Sudanese illegally migrated to Israel: official

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February 11, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Secretariat of Sudanese Working Abroad (SSWA) has declared that 10,000 Sudanese citizens have illegally migrated to the state of Israel with one quarter of them coming from the restive region of Darfur and the remaining numbers from central and northern Sudan.

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Sudanese refugee in Israel (AFP/Getty)

The secretary general of the SSWA, Karrar Al-Tuhami, said the numbers of illegal Sudanese migrants are going up adding that the majority of them are youth.

He said at a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday that the anti-human trafficking code must be implemented and protected, noting that Sudan was the third highest-ranking country in the 2013 global report on human trafficking.

Al-Tuhami pointed that Sudan became a source and a transit point for illegal immigration pledging that the SSWA will set up a statistical record for immigrants.

The U.S. state department 2012 report on human trafficking identifies Sudan as a "source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking".

Israel has deported at least 1,000 Sudanese citizens. The UN Refugee Agency said it was not Informed of the move, and that the deportees were forced to return to Sudan where visiting or living in Israel is a crime.

Sudan is an outspoken enemy of Israel; a visit to the country is punishable under Sudanese law, and residing in Israel is prosecuted as a grave crime. Sudanese passports state they are valid in every country except Israel.

The repatriation was reportedly carried out secretly over the last few months through a third country.

The Sudanese immigrants constitute one of the biggest African refugee groups in Israel. They illegally enter the country through Egypt.

Observers say that large numbers of Sudanese people leave the country legally and illegally due to worsening living conditions and economic distress.

(ST)

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