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According to the United Nations, it is time to pay attention to the “most unreported humanitarian crisis in the world.” Bedouins in the Sinai Desert are kidnapping asylum-seekers from Eritrea, thousands of whom try desperately to cross the Egyptian-Israeli border every year. In an effort to draw attention to this disturbing phenomenon,

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Meron Estefanos is a Swedish-Eritrean radio journalist, human rights activist, and mother. She speaks to Eritreans around the world through her weekly program Radio Erena and for Eritreans around the world through her ongoing engagement with some of the most powerful political figures in the U.S. and Europe.

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Meron Estefanos is a remarkable Eritrean radio journalist and activist who campaigns to save those fleeing from her home country. In Eritrea indefinite military conscription from 17 is compulsory and those who refuse are imprisoned. The twin currencies of one of the most repressive regimes in Africa are violence and corruption. It is no surprise that around 5,000 are escaping a month. Some head for Israel where many are captured en route by criminal gangs that roam Sinai kept in torture camps, raped and ransomed. Others suffer the same fate in Libya.

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The last decade have witnessed an upsurge of Eritrean refugees taking to the Mediterranean Sea in search of a safety from repression and unlimited national service they are facing in their home country. However, in their flight from their home countries, these refuges have encountered several plights such as extortion by Eritrean and Sudanese security, sale to Rashaida human smugglers and traffickers, abduction while traveling or after arriving at a camp or their apartments. Out of desperation and to run away from the mistreatment on the hands of Libyan security, the refugees crowd into decrepit ships by unscrupulous smugglers for a huge amount of money.