February 21st, 2013
10:29 AM ET

Germans take up Sinai trafficking

Germany's parliament has taken on debating human trafficking in Sinai in part due to CNN reporting from the region.

German MP Annette Groth says it is time for Berlin to use its economic power to pressure Egyptian authorities.

Human rights groups estimate that thousands of African migrants have perished trying to make it to Israel via the Sinai. FULL POST

September 26th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

'Stand in the Sinai' now online

As part of the Freedom Project CNN this year returned to Egypt’s Sinai Desert where people-smugglers abuse, rape and hold for ransom desperately poor refugees.

In 2011 “Death in the Desert” uncovered evidence that traffickers tortured the refugees, and in some cases harvested their organs for sale on the black market, leaving many of their victims to die.

This year, in “Stand in the Sinai” we saw how the battle against the traffickers was progressing and found Bedouins, dedicated aid workers and former refugees fighting the horrific trade in human suffering.

Now for the first time you can watch the entire documentary online here in three parts.

FULL POST

A Stand in the Sinai
September 21st, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Women raped by Sinai traffickers find help

By Frederik Pleitgen and Mohammed Fadel Fahmy, CNN

The Sinai desert is a hub for people trafficking. Many of the refugees from sub-Saharan Africa who get smuggled through here get tortured and blackmailed in the process.

Bedouin gangs – instead of trafficking the refugees straight into Israel - often hold them captive, torture them and force relatives into paying ransoms for their release.

The ordeal is exceptionally bad for women. Many of them are raped by the traffickers and some become pregnant. FULL POST

Helping to take a stand in the Sinai
September 20th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

Helping to take a stand in the Sinai

In the Sinai Desert a handful of groups is fighting ruthless people-traffickers who prey on desperate migrants trying to reach Israel from war-ravaged and poverty-stricken parts of Africa.

Many of them also live in an unwired world such as the Bedouins who operate a safe house and have persuaded others not to allow the traffickers to shop at their stores – a kind of localized sanctions.

FULL POST

A Stand in the Sinai
September 20th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Sister gives hope to trafficked migrants

By Elise Labott and Dan Morgan, CNN

For thousands of African asylum seekers fleeing danger via Egypt's Sinai desert, one woman serves as an oasis after their harrowing journey into Israel.

She was born in Eritrea as Azezet Habtezghi Kidane. In the migrant shelters of South Tel Aviv, she is known simply as Sister Aziza.

In the free clinic for migrants run by the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, where she volunteers as a nurse, Sister Aziza examines the African refugees. She sees burns and whip marks on the body of one of the men who fled to Israel though the Sinai. FULL POST

A Stand in the Sinai
September 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Bedouin successes fighting people traffickers

by Frederik Pleitgen and Mohammed Fadel Fahmy, CNN

The area of Al Mehdia near Egypt's border with Israel is a lawless place even by Northern Sinai's standards.

There is no police force and a military offensive launched recently after a deadly string of militant attacks on Egyptian border guards, has not stopped the illicit trade that flourishes in this area.

Tankers full of fuel still make their way to smuggling tunnels leading to Gaza in broad daylight and marijuana fields are cultivated with elaborate irrigation systems in the middle of the desert.

Last year CNN visited the region as part of the Freedom Project spotlighting the depths that the traffickers have sunk. Now we revisit the remote region to see Bedouins tackling the trafficking on their doorstep.

FULL POST

November 17th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Slaves freed after CNN documentary

By Fred Pleitgen and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN

(CNN) - Hundreds of African refugees have been released from captivity in the Sinai Peninsula and allowed to cross from Egypt into Israel, shortly after a CNN report detailed the horrendous conditions the migrants face.

The report, "Death in the Desert," which was first published online in early November and broadcast on CNN International on November 5, showed evidence that African refugees, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, were being held captive by Bedouin human traffickers in Sinai, who try to extort massive sums of money from the refugees’ families for their release.

FULL POST

November 3rd, 2011
08:22 AM ET

Refugees face organ theft in the Sinai

In the second part of his report, CNN's Fred Pleitgen investigates organ trafficking in the Sinai Desert. Read the first part 

Bedouin smugglers involved in people trafficking are also believed to be stealing organs from refugees who are unable to pay their demands for large amounts of cash to take them into Israel. FULL POST

November 2nd, 2011
07:42 AM ET

Death in the desert: Tribesmen exploit battle to reach Israel

In this first part of his report, CNN's Fred Pleitgen investigates the plight of refugees crossing the Sinai Desert. Check out the second part

El Arish, Egypt - "I wanted to build a good future for my family, but I failed," a weak Issam Abdallah Mohammed said in a videotaped statement.

The refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan was trying to illegally cross the border from Egypt to Israel when he was discovered and shot by Egyptian border guards.

Less than an hour after taping the statement, Issam was dead, succumbing to the wounds inflicted by the gunshots.

Every year, thousands of refugees, mostly from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, attempt the dangerous journey from their war-torn countries to Israel in search of economic prosperity and stability.

Very few make it, and the results of the failed migration can be seen in the morgue of the central hospital in the Egyptian port town of El Arish. FULL POST