Sinai Migrant Trafficking: $20m a Year

14,000 people cross the border between Israel and the Sinai Peninsula annually, according to the Interior Ministry's Population Authority.

TheMarker Staff
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TheMarker Staff

Israel's porous southern border apparently enables a $20 million-a-year industry in smuggling African labor migrants.

Last year, some 14,000 people crossed the border between Israel and the Sinai Peninsula, according to the Interior Ministry's Population Authority.

Most of the migrants are from Eritrea and Sudan. They generally fly to Cairo and set out on a 10- to 12-day trek across the Sinai Desert, escorted by local Bedouin. The groups intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces usually include dozens of migrants.

Reservists in the south who have spoken to migrants say the they generally pay their Bedouin smugglers around $1,500 per person. Given the volume of people crossing the border, this puts the industry at $20 million a year.

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