Yemen’s human traffickers prey on Ethiopian migrants

They are kidnapped and tortured by gangs in Yemen to extort ransoms from their families

Ethiopian migrants wait to be evacuated at a departure centre in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, on Thursday/ Gulf News
Ethiopian migrants wait to be evacuated at a departure centre in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, on Thursday/ Gulf News

By William Davison
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

(Gulf News) Sintayehu Beyene left Ethiopia planning to earn money to begin a carpentry business — he ended up captive in Yemen where Kalashnikov-wielding traffickers stole what little he owned.

Grabbed from a boatload of migrant workers as it landed on a Yemeni shore, he says the armed gang whisked him inland to a desert camp. Beaten and detained for nine days with about 30 other people, he was forced to hand over the 1,400 Ethiopian birr ($72, Dh264.24) he was carrying before being released. He crossed to neighbouring Saudi Arabia, where wages are sometimes more than double the rates paid in Ethiopia, only to be deported a month later when authorities cracked down on illegal migrants.

“They robbed and beat me,” Sintayehu, 31, said in a May 22 interview in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, recalling his treatment at the camp in northern Yemen five months ago. “They took all the money I had.” Read more…

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