Torture in  [Egypt]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Egypt]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Egypt]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Egypt]  [other countries]

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2018                               

Arab Republic of Egypt

Cairo has aggressively pursued economic reforms to encourage inflows of foreign investment and facilitate GDP growth.

Despite these achievements, the government has failed to raise living standards for the average Egyptian, and has had to continue providing subsidies for basic necessities.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Egypt

Egypt is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Some of Egypt’s estimated one million street children – both boys and girls – are exploited in prostitution and forced begging. Local gangs are, at times, involved in this exploitation. Egyptian children are recruited for domestic and agricultural labor; some of these children face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude, such as restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009   [full country report]



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Egypt.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page to see which aspect(s) of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Underage And Unprotected: Child Labor In Egypt's Cotton Fields

Human Rights Watch Reports, Egypt, January 2001

[accessed 3 February 2011]

SUMMARY - Each year over one million children between the ages of seven and twelve are hired by Egypt's agricultural cooperatives to take part in cotton pest management. Employed under the authority of Egypt's agriculture ministry, most are well below Egypt's minimum age of twelve for seasonal agricultural work. They work eleven hours a day, including a one to two hour break, seven days a week-far in excess of limits set by the Egyptian Child Law.1 They also face routine beatings by their foremen, as well as exposure to heat and pesticides. These conditions violate Egypt's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children from ill-treatment and hazardous employment. They are also tantamount to the worst forms of child labor, as defined in the International Labour Organization's Convention 182, which Egypt has not yet ratified. Children were forcibly recruited to take part in pest management as recently as ten years ago, and some farmers continue to believe that they will be fined if they resist their children's recruitment. However, most children today are compelled to work by the driving force of poverty.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2018 Edition

[accessed 20 March 2019]


Egyptian women and children, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and Syrian refugees are vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking in Egypt. The Egyptian authorities routinely punish individuals for offenses that stemmed directly from their circumstances as trafficking victims. Military conscripts are exploited as cheap labor to work on military- or state-affiliated development projects.

2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 21 March 2019]


The constitution states no work may be compulsory except by virtue of a law. Government did not effectively enforce the prohibition. Employers subjected male and female persons (including citizens) from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa to forced labor in domestic service, construction, cleaning, begging, and other sectors. The government worked with NGOs to provide some assistance to victims of human trafficking, including forced labor.


Child labor occurred, although estimates on the number of child laborers varied. According to the EDHS, 1.6 million children worked, primarily in the agricultural sector in rural areas but also in domestic work and factories in urban areas, often under hazardous conditions. Children also worked in light industry, the aluminum industry, construction sites, and service businesses such as auto repair. According to government, NGO, and media reports, the number of street children in Cairo continued to increase in the face of deteriorating economic conditions. Such children were at greater risk of sexual exploitation or forced begging. In some cases employers abused or overworked children.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 17 April 2019]

[page 379]

Some girls are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation under the pretext of temporary marriage to wealthy foreign men, mostly from Persian Gulf countries. (4; 5; 28) Some Egyptian children are trafficked to Italy, and although the number of arrivals decreased significantly in 2017, Egyptian children continue to be used for bonded child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and illicit activities in Italy. (30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 4; 11; 35).

Sisi, crack down on mass murder, torture in Sinai!

Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, 22 June 2014

[accessed 22 June 2014]

The accounts are so shocking, the more one reads the more one becomes numb. “The kidnappers would make me lie on my back and then they would get me to ring my family to ask them to pay the ransom they wanted,” 17-year-old Lamlam from Eritrea told the BBC in March last year. “As soon as one of my parents answered the phone, the men would melt flaming plastic over my back and inner thighs and I would scream and scream in pain.” Another man recalled, “They had about four of five of us tied up together and they would pour water on the floor and then electrocute the water so that all of us would get electrocuted at the same time.” He saw 20 people die. These stories are the tip of the iceberg of a torture and mass murder industry in the Sinai peninsula that is part of a network that spans across the Sahara and into Sudan, in which Beduin and Somali smugglers lure Africans into camps and torture them for ransoms of up to $30,000.

Back in 2011, a Physicians for Human Rights report found through interviews that 59 percent of the Africans traversing the Sinai Peninsula had been chained or locked up, 52% had suffered abuse and 44% had witnessed violence and murder. A survivor told Corriera Dela Serra that “many of the women have been ferociously and repeatedly raped by Beduin who kept them in captivity in Sinai.” A 33-year-old man named Temesghen told doctors, “they threatened us: ‘if you don’t pay we’re going to take your organs.’” People were chained up for over six months; they were kept inside water tankers, in the hot and boiling sun; the women among them raped everyday. And many of them were murdered.

Organ trafficking on the rise in Egypt, says new report

Sarah Sheffer, Bikya Masr (Egyptian: resellable clutter), Cairo, 12 December 2011

[accessed 13 June 2013]

A shocking new report by the Coalition for Organ Failure Solutions (COFS) Egypt indicates that organ trafficking is on the rise in the country, as traffickers continue to target Sudanese refugees and other asylum seekers in the nation.  According to the report, entitled "Sudanese Victims of Organ Trafficking in Egypt," traffickers remove the kidneys of their victims "either by inducing consent, coercion, or outright theft."  The report was written based on case studies of 57 Sudanese refugees, including men, women, and children, who said they were victims of organ trafficking.

COFS estimates that there are thousands of victims of organ trafficking in Egypt. Refugees are the most common victims, as traffickers seek to exploit their insecure legal status in the country.

Child maids now being exported to US

Associated Press AP, December 28, 2008

[accessed 1 September 2014]

[accessed 17 September 2016]

Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off.

Once behind the walls of gated communities like this one, these children never go to school. Unbeknownst to their neighbors, they live as modern-day slaves, just like Shyima, whose story is pieced together through court records, police transcripts and interviews.

Shyima cried when she found out she was going to America in 2000. Her father, a bricklayer, had fallen ill a few years earlier, so her mother found a maid recruiter, signed a contract effectively leasing her daughter to the couple for 10 years and told Shyima to be strong.

She arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Aug. 3, 2000, according to court documents. The family brought her back to their spacious five-bedroom, two-story home, decorated in the style of a Tuscan villa with a fountain of two angels spouting water through a conch. She was told to sleep in the garage.   It had no windows and was neither heated nor air-conditioned. Soon after she arrived, the garage's only light bulb went out. The Ibrahims didn't replace it. From then on, Shyima lived in the dark.   She was told to call them Madame Amal and Hajj Nasser, terms of respect. They called her "shaghala," or servant. Their five children called her "stupid."

Human trafficking: the case of Egypt

Ahmed Maged, Daily News Egypt, Cairo, August 1, 2008

[accessed 1 September 2014]

THE SITUATION IN EGYPT - The local dimension of human trafficking includes child labor, the sexual exploitation of children, the sale of human organs as well as various forms of prostitution. The issue has now become a major topic of concern for social scientists, police and law-enforcement authorities as well as rehabilitation centers.

‘Summer Brides’: Under-age daughters sold as ‘sex-slaves’ in Egypt, report claims

Al Arabiya News, 15 July 2012

[accessed 16 July 2012]

[accessed 2 February 2019]

Egypt has laws in place that aim to combat human trafficking which prevent foreigners from marrying an Egyptian woman if there is more than ten years age difference, but marriage brokers have found a way around that by forging birth certificates to make the girls appear older and the men younger.  These contracts also eliminate any potential problems with hotels and land lords who may demand to see proof of marriage before allowing a couple to stay in a room together, since pre-marital sex is prohibited in Islam.

In some cases the men take the Egyptian girls back to their home country to work as maids for their first wives. But even the girls who stay in Egypt do not fare much better since they often become ostracized by society and find it difficult to re-marry in the traditional way, particularly if the “summer marriage” resulted in a child.

Many abandon the child out of shame, either to orphanages or leaving them to join the hundreds of thousands of street children that already exist in Egypt.  Dr. Hoda Badran, who chairs the NGO Alliance for Arab Women, explained to the Sunday Independent that poverty is the main factor behind this phenomenon.

Picking on cotton

Gamal Nkrumah, Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 905,  10 - 16 July 2008

[accessed 23 January 2016]

Not only do landless peasants earn a pittance working the land, but they are subjected to abuse, and no group more so than the children, the most vulnerable members of society. Foremen in the fields subject the children to violent beatings. Gangmasters recruit the children, invariably the offspring of landless peasants and impoverished peasant families. The parents of the child labourers are desperately poor and are often all too relieved to part with their children. In the final analysis, farming out one's children as indentured labourers mean fewer mouths to feed.

In Egypt, child workers a growing problem as food prices rise

The Jerusalem Post, 04/03/2008

[accessed 3 February 2011]

[accessed 23 January 2018]

Each day, 14-year-old Ali Abdel-Nasser works at a brick factory on the outskirts of Cairo, loading a donkey cart with new bricks to be taken to a nearby furnace to dry. He has worked at the plant almost every day the last four years, since age 10 when his father died.  Responsible for a family of seven, the boy is bitter that even the donkeys at the factory get more time off than he does.

Several of the child workers in the area, interviewed by an Associated Press reporter on a recent trip, said they had sometimes been beaten with wooden switches by foremen at the factories, if the foremen thought the children were going too slowly in their work.  No foremen would agree to be interviewed. But human rights groups and outside experts say conditions for working children can vary greatly across Egypt — from factories that provide meals and some basic schooling, to those that work children long hours, often in scorching heat, and abuse or beat them.

Organ trafficking: a fast-expanding black market

IHS Jane's, 05 March 2008

[accessed 26 June 2013]

China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines, Moldova, and Romania are among the world's leading providers of trafficked organs. If China is known for harvesting and selling organs from executed prisoners, the other countries have been dealing essentially with living donors, becoming stakeholders in the fast-growing human trafficking web.

NGOs warn against plan to increase Russian visas

Ruth Eglash, The Jerusalem Post, Oct 23, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

However, Russia is considered a transit destination for trafficking operations, with many men, women and children from neighboring countries arriving there before being transported elsewhere.  Egypt has no visa requirements for Russian visitors, and its border with Israel is considered to be a main entry point for human traffickers.

Egyptian Journalists Trained to Report on Child Labor Issues

Internews Arabic Network, April 14, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

Internews Arabic Network held a training session in Aswan, Cairo in March to increase Egyptian journalists’ understanding of the harms of child labor and how journalists can help alleviate this problem in Egypt.

Liberian court tries Egyptian woman for child trafficking

Angola Press, Monrovia Liberia, June 30, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

The Criminal Court in Monrovia Tuesday indicted Fathia Kieta, an Egyptian wife of a Liberian diplomat accredited to Egypt, on charges of child trafficking.  The woman is accused of "kidnapping" four Moroccan children she brought to Liberia. She seized their passports and curtailed their movements.  Court records showed that the four children were confined to a Monrovia pub "where they were exposed to involuntary prostitution and other illegal services".

Little Hands Do Neat Work

Joanne McEwan, Islam Online, 11/06/2001

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

It is estimated that around 1.2 million children swarm the Egyptian cotton fields in early summer (Schemm, p.8). Most of them are below 12 years of age and work up to 11 hours each day, thus impeaching Egypt's laws that state that a child of 12 (the minimum working age) can only participate in a six hour work day of seasonal agricultural work. Children not only toil under the hot sun, but are beaten by the foreman and forced to work in fields that have been sprayed with pesticides only pesticides only 24 - 48 hours earlier. Yet these children play an important role in the labor intensive cotton fields…being ideal in height and plentiful in number.

Child Labor

Douglas Jehl, "King Cotton Exacts Tragic Toll From Egypt's Young," New York Times, September 25, 1997. US Department of Labor. 1995. By the Sweat and Toil of Children: The Use of Child Labor in US Agricultural Imports and Forced and Bonded Child Labor. Washington. US Department of Labor. Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

[accessed 3 February 2011]

In Egypt, education is supposed to be compulsory to the age of 15, but thousands of children as young as age six pick cotton by hand in September for about $1.50 for an eight-hour day. In September 1997, 31 children were killed when the flatbed government truck taking them to a government-owned cotton field overturned. Egyptian law prohibits employment under 12 in agriculture, and under 14 in nonfarm jobs. However, these age limits are routinely violated, including by the Agriculture Ministry, which owns 10 percent of the cotton fields in Egypt.  The Egyptian Center for Social Research estimates that 1.5 million children in Egypt under the age of 14 work, and that most work in agriculture.

Child Labour Persists Around The World: More Than 13 Percent Of Children 10-14 Are Employed

International Labour Organisation (ILO) News, Geneva, 10 June 1996

[accessed 4 September 2011]

[accessed 30 January 2019]

"Today's child worker will be tomorrow's uneducated and untrained adult, forever trapped in grinding poverty. No effort should be spared to break that vicious circle", says ILO Director-General Michel Hansenne.

Among the countries with a high percentage of their children from 10-14 years in the work force are: Mali, 54.5 percent; Burkina Faso, 51; Niger and Uganda, both 45; Kenya, 41.3; Senegal, 31.4; Bangladesh, 30.1; Nigeria, 25.8; Haiti, 25; Turkey, 24; Côte d'Ivoire, 20.5; Pakistan, 17.7; Brazil, 16.1; India, 14.4; China, 11.6; and Egypt, 11.2.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 3 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Reports indicate a widespread practice of poor rural families making arrangements to send daughters to cities to work as domestic servants in the homes of wealthy citizens.  Egypt is a country of transit for child trafficking, particularly for underage girls from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union who are trafficked into Israel and for forced labor and sexual exploitation.  It is a common practice for underage girls from poor and rural areas to be forced to marry men from the Gulf States, often at the behest of their families.  Although the legal age of consent to marriage in Egypt is 16, falsification of documents enables brokers to sell underage girls into circumstances amounting to forced sexual servitude.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 3 February 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – There were anecdotal and press reports of trafficking of persons from sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe through the country to Europe and Israel. It was difficult to determine how many of the aliens smuggled through the country were actually being trafficked and how many were voluntary economic migrants. The government aggressively patrolled its borders to prevent alien smuggling, but geography and finances limited the efforts. Government officials participated in international conferences on combating trafficking in persons.

The Protection Project – Egypt [PDF]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 13 February 2019]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

Human Rights Overview by Human Rights Watch – Defending Human Rights Worldwide

[accessed 3 February 2011]

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DT46 .E32 1991

[accessed 4 June 2017]

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Torture in  [Egypt]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Egypt]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Egypt]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Egypt]  [other countries]