Refugee kidnappings on the rise in eastern Sudan

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Young Eritrean refugees in Sudan

Young Eritrean refugees in Sudan

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says the rising number of abductions and kidnappings of refugees in eastern Sudan is probably one of the worst forms of human trafficking in the region.

UNHCR says that refugees, mainly from Eritrea, are allegedly being abducted or kidnapped by border tribes. The kidnapped refugees are held for ransom or trafficked for forced marriage, sexual exploitation, bonded labour or the mining of organs.  Melissa Fleming, UNHCR Chief Spokesperson, says victims are subjected to extreme forms of torture.

"What basically happens is they are given a phone. They are tortured in ways that are just absolutely horrific. Their screams, on the other end of the phone when they're talking to their mother, their father, are so absolutely horrific. They are asked to pay thousands and thousands of dollars–more than the life savings of these people, often the life savings of the entire village."

The number of refugee kidnappings has grown considerably over the past couple of years. In 2011 there were 51 reported cases, while there were 551 cases in 2012 with many more believed to have remained unreported.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva
Duration: 1’15″

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