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The Egyptian government is denying reports that African migrants are being held in the Sinai Desert against their will by human traffickers. The denial comes in the wake of reporting by the BBC on the plight of migrants from places like Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, who travel across the Sinai hoping to reach Europe via Israel.
But many of the migrants don’t get that far and find themselves held hostage by human traffickers who extort thousands of dollars and, in some cases, subject them to rape and abuse. The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes met some of those being held and some smugglers profiting from the trade.