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An Eritrean torture victim
Photo: CBN News

From the west coast of Africa to the deserts of Sinai, Bedouin tribes are conducting a human trafficking trade on a massive scale. According to CBN News, the trade reaps millions of dollars and deals with human misery. It could be stopped, but so far no one has dared.

“Philip,” one Eritrean torture victim, explains how he lost the sensation of his hands: "It was a result of the accumulated torture but mainly because (both) of my wrists were tied up so tightly. (As I was hung) from the ceiling for three days, the blood was cut off from my hands...."

A 35-year-old Eritrean woman named Segen, who is five months pregnant, speaks of her own horrific experience. The news reporter interviewing her said that you could hear the strain in Segen's voice as she recounts what took place: "They are asking for money every minute and they hit us.... They hang us the way (Jesus) was hanged.... "

These are just two examples of this widespread modern-day slavery, kidnapping and torture trade in the Sinai desert. Shahar Shoham, director of Physicians for Human Rights, has documented more than 1,300 cases of torture. And the vile treatment of these victimized refugees is considered diabolical. Thankfully, there are survivors who have eventually made it to Israel. (To learn more about the hardships facing fellow believers in Eritrea, go to the Eritrea Country Report.)

In addition, what the Bedouin tribesmen demand from the Eritrean victims' poor families is an unattainable amount. "The ransom fees can go up to $40,000 for an individual and even $50,000," the news report states. "And until the ransom fees (are) paid, the people will not be released." Shahar surmises that "the financial burden on the families is devastating." Many of the captured Etritrean refugees, like Segen and Philip, are Christians. Sadly, many don't survive.

May God mightily intervene on behalf of these Eritrean believers who are going through much tribulation while fleeing persecution in their own troubled country. Ask the Lord to place a hedge of protection around them and their families, keeping them safe from the evil one who roams about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Pray that their perpetrators will experience an encounter with the Living God so they will have the opportunity to turn from their wicked ways...and instead discover the joy of serving Him and His people as instruments of blessing.

Country Information


6,147,398 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (50), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Afar (4) Kunama (4), Bilen (3), other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (47.4), Christianity (48.8), other (3.8)

President Isaias Afworki (1993)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Operation World

Pray for Eritrea

Ask the Lord to provide imprisoned Eritrean believers a means of escape and a place of safe refuge. Pray for Him to also work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing officials so they will grant His people the freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. Mindful of their own human frailties, may these political leaders realize the need to make Jesus their own personal Saviour and Lord by accepting His gift of eternal salvation.


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Eritrea News

  • Christians Arrested During Prayer Meeting
    Several rusty shipping containers - Photo: VOMC
    Prison officials continue to hold detainees in cramped, unsanitary shipping containers.
    Photo: VOMC

    In mid-March, 29 evangelical Christians were arrested when Eritrean security forces raided a home prayer meeting in Asmara. According to reports, 17 women and 12 men were taken to the Mai Serwa prison

  • Fifteen Christians Rearrested
    Video: Kidane Gebremeskel Gedion
    Click to view video.

    Eritrean authorities recently arrested 15 Christians during a series of raids on their houses in the capital city of Asmara. All 15 believers had been previously imprisoned for their faith – some for up to 16 years.

  • Three Elderly Pastors Arrested
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael - Photos: Church in Chains
    Georgio Gebreab and Samuel Okbamichael
    Photos: Church in Chains

    Three semi-retired pastors in the Eritrean capital of Asmara were arrested towards the latter part of July. Since they were all over 70 years old, and only occasionally conducted funeral or wedding services, it is unclear why these elde