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Eritreans Call for End to Human Trafficking of Migrants

African migrant workers wait for free medical treatment in Israel. (File Photo)
African migrant workers wait for free medical treatment in Israel. (File Photo)

Eritrean migrants fleeing their country are being preyed upon by human traffickers and subjected to organ harvesting in Egypt, say human rights workers in the Eritrean diaspora.

“The problem starts from inside Eritrea because a majority of those victims are Eritreans,” said Tomas Solomon, a spokesperson for Urgent Relief for Eritrean Refugees

“Once they get to Sudan, basically they are told that [the traffickers] can get them to Israel or the West, and they are asked to pay about $2,500, and after paying that they will be taken to Egypt and they are sold,” he added.

According to the EveryOne Group, an Italian non-governmental organization, the migrants are then asked to pay tens of thousands of dollars in ransom by their traffickers. If unable to meet the ransom, the group said, some are told their kidneys will be removed and sold on the black market.

Solomon said that in addition to addressing the human trafficking issue, policymakers should also examine Eritrea’s current human rights situation.

“Eritrea is equated to the North Korea of Africa,” Solomon said. “There is no due process of law…no freedom of press, no freedom of religion.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Eritrea has the second highest number of jailed journalists of any country in the world, with 28 reporters currently behind bars.

Solomon added that despite Israel’s recent announcement that it will build a fence along its border to stem illegal immigration from African countries, he does not think the number of Eritreans seeking to immigrate will decrease.