June 1st, 2011
09:07 AM ET

Tales of torture, slavery in Sinai

Two women from Eritrea - whose identities are hidden - came separately to Israel seeking a better future.

"I thought things would be much different from Africa," say one of the women. "I got information from people who already arrived before me in Israel that the lifestyle is much better than Eritrea."

What they didn't know was that the men they paid $2,500 to bring them to the Israeli border would repeatedly beat, rape and starve them during their long journey.

"When I left my country I was optimistic and I thought I would reach my final destination, but at the point where I was with the Bedouin in the Sinai, I just gave up everything and said this is the end."

Theirs are not isolated stories. In 2010 alone more than 14,000 African migrants crossed Israel's southern border with Egypt - nearly a 170 percent rise from the year before, according to government figures. And migrant aid organizations say with that surge has come an increase in horrific first-hand accounts of systematic torture, rape, and slavery, across the border, in the Sinai Peninsula.