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159 Chapter 4 Human Trafficking Connecting to Terrorism and Organ Trafficking: Libya and Egypt Mirjam Van Reisen & Meron Estefanos I can't expect to be treated fairly in this country if I wasn't treated respectfully in my own country [Eritrea]. If my countrymen can't help me, no one can. Because the route we take is illegal, we can't do anything. (Interview, Estefanos with D2, face-to-face, 26 September 2015) Introduction This chapter looks at the connection between human trafficking, terrorism and organ trafficking with a geographic focus on Libya and Egypt. Since 2014, the political situations in Libya and Egypt have been evolving rapidly. With the overthrow of President Gadhafi in Libya in 2011, conflict between the militia and various fighting factions has resulted in civil war and great instability. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned in 2011 as a result of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising. His successor, President Mohamed Morsi was replaced by General Abdel Fattahel-Sisi in 2013, the third president in as many years. In both countries, new practices of human trafficking have emerged. In Libya, the new modus operandi involves state military alongside terrorism-related militia and organisations, with an increasing number of groups and factions jostling for power. In Egypt, there are concerns about the Egyptian government’s collaboration with Eritrea on the deportation of Eritrean refugees. There are also reports of organ trafficking associated with the 160 trafficking of Eritrean and other refugees in Egypt (Mekonnen and Estefanos, 2011). Following the overthrow of President Gadhafi in Libya in 2011, for a brief period, Libya provided a new route to the Mediterranean Sea for Eritrean refugees. However, in February 2015, Islamic State (ISIS) published a video in which Christian refugees were beheaded (Black, 2015), showing that it had gained foothold in Libya. The majority of victims shown in the video were later recognised as Eritrean or Ethiopian (Loveluck, 2015). Vice (2015) reported that hundreds of Eritrean migrants were being held in Libyan migrant prisons, as the country was increasingly becoming lawless (Vice, 2015). Since the end of 2016, Egypt has provided a new route for the smuggling and trafficking of Eritrean refugees. However, crossing the Mediterranean Sea has become increasingly dangerous, with 4,913 people recorded as perished in 2016 (Missing Migrants Project, 2017). Because of the increasing difficulties that Eritrean refugees encounter in traveling to Europe, their safety in Egypt and Libya – or lack thereof – is becoming more relevant. This chapter examines the new forms of human trafficking for ransom and related phenomena in Libya and Egypt. It follows the routes of Eritrean refugees to these countries from Sudan. It draws on direct testimonies from victims of human trafficking obtained in 2016 by journalist Meron Estefanos and by Mirjam Van Reisen. These interviews were carried out by Skype, by phone and face-toface , and transcribed and translated. With regard to the description of the situation in Egypt (in relation to deportation of Eritrean refugees and organ trafficking), different channels of information have provided additional source materials. Testimonies collected by Africa Monitors, which collects information from Eritrean refugees on their experiences along the refugee routes in North Africa, are also analysed. In this chapter, we limit the description to what is publicly available, given the sensitivity of the topic. All of the information published in this chapter has been cross-checked by the authors 161 through various independent channels. These checks have been carried out to minimise the risk of possible disinformation.26 The map in Figure 4.1 shows the two principle routes for Eritrean refugees from Sudan to the Mediterranean Sea, either through Egypt or Libya. New routes from Sudan to Egypt and Libya In 2016, the Sudanese government started deporting Eritrean refugees back to Eritrea. Africa Monitors reports that round-up exercises for deportation include refugees legally registered, as their papers and ID cards are destroyed in the process (Africa Monitors, 2016b & 2016c). To avoid deportation, refugees are required to pay hefty sums of money (K, personal communication, with Van Reisen, Facebook Messenger, 10 January 2017) (see Chapter 3 on deportation from Sudan). To avoid being returned to Eritrea, many refugees moved on to Libya and Egypt. Africa Monitors reports that it costs around USD 7,000 to 8,000 per person to be smuggled from Eritrea to Sudan and around USD 1,500 to 2,000 per person from Sudan to Egypt (Africa Monitors, 2016d). According to Eritrean journalist Zecarias Gerrima, the current fee for being smuggled across the...


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