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Sinai. Traffickers torture an Eritrean child

Rome, February 10th, 2011. We have received another chilling update from don Mussie Zerai on the situation of the migrants being kept in chains in Northern Sinai. "I talked to one of the hostages who has been in the hands of the traffickers for seven months," reported Zerai. "He has already been sold four times, after being passed on to different gangs. He told me about the terrible conditions of Abiel Name, an 11-year-old Eritrean boy, who had an arm broken by the smugglers. The child keeps crying out with pain, but his fellow prisoners are unable to help him, because they are all chained up.  Abiel, too, is  shackled at the feet and hands. There are two other minors, aged 14, who are being subjected to the same inhumane treatment. These children were kidnapped in Sudan by Bedouins and sold to other traffickers in Northern Sinai. The witness reports that the group is just a few miles from the Israeli border. They are imprisoned inside a metal shipping container, exposed to the burning heat by day and the freezing cold by night. 'We are tortured often,' they say 'by having dripping hot plastic poured onto our backs'. This brutal torture is interspersed with other, even more wicked and humiliating practices that the young boys are ashamed even to describe. The Bedouins torture the prisoners in the hope of obtaining the ransom they have demanded for each of these unfortunate young people. The prisoners are calling out for help, asking for someone to intervene and save them from these horrors. For the past three months we have been appealing to the European institutions, the United Nations, the governments of those involved in the trafficking of human beings to take action. Today we are appealing once again to the Egyptian authorities deployed at the border, and the Israeli security services, to intervene and free the slaves of the traffickers. "

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