Home | News    Tuesday 14 April 2015

Ethiopians detained by human traffickers in Sudan freed

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April 12, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – Some 19 Ethiopian nationals who were being held by a human trafficking group in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, have beeb set free.

The state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) said the detainees – who are all women – have since returned home over the weekend.

The Ethiopians believed that they would be taken to wealthy Arab and Middle Eastern countries, but were instead held in detention where they were subjected to various forms of abuse.

Fantanesh Azmeraw, who was one of the returnees, said the traffickers had beaten them and denying the captives food. Another returnee, Adanech Kesiro, said the traffickers had promised to take her to Dubai.

According to EBC’s report, the returnees had been under held detention for up to six months.

The spokesperson for Ethiopia’s ministry of foreign affairs, Tewolde Mulugeta, said the Ethiopian Embassy in Sudan, in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), had been working behind the scenes for at least three weeks to secure the safe return of the 19 detainees.

Human traffickers are particularly active in Eastern Sudan where hundreds are involved in the lucrative business.

A large number of Eritreans who flee to Sudan to escape political oppression in their homeland are abducted by traffickers upon their arrival, while many others are abducted from refugee camps.

The major human trafficking rings in Eastern Sudan are predominantly run by members of the Rashaida tribe.

There have also been claims the Rashaida operate in collaboration with Eritrean military officials and the Sudanese government.

After their abduction most refugees are smuggled across borders to Egypt where they are then handed over to other human trafficking networks operating in the Sinai peninsula.

Once they reach Sinai near the Israeli border, kidnappers contact the families of their captives by telephone and demand large ransom payments for their release, sometimes up to $40,000.

There have been reports of traffickers harvesting the organs of detainees for sale on the black market in Europe if their families are unable to come up with the cash.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has previously accused Sudanese and Egyptian security officials of involvement in human trafficking.

(ST)

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