Israel has asserted that it does not have the ability to aid a large number of trafficking victims who arrive from Egypt.
'Israel – destination for modern slaves'
The report also stresses, however, that that the modern slavery problem is alive and well in the Jewish state. Israel is described as a destination country for people subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.
According to the document, in addition to the African migrants who illegally cross into Israel from Sinai, many legal migrant workers who come from Thailand, China, Nepal, the Philippines, India and other countries "face conditions of forced labor, including through such practices as the unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, inability to change or otherwise choose one’s employer, nonpayment of wages, threats, sexual assault, and physical intimidation."
Furthermore, many labor recruitment agencies in require workers to pay exorbitant recruitment fees to secure jobs in Israel, ranging from $4,000 to $20,000, a practice that contributes to forced labor.
Syria's ranking has dropped to Tier 3, the lowermost group, and could therefore face sanctions imposed by the US. According to the report, the Syrian government "is not making significant efforts" to eliminate human trafficking within its territory. Meanwhile, Lebanon and Myanmar have bettered their efforts to battle modern slavery.
'Raped victims go untreated'
Alongside the release of the report, the US has chosen to honor several individuals who devoted their lives to fighting modern slavery. One of this year's recipients was Azezet Habtezghi Kidane, an Eritrean nun volunteering at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. According to the NGO, Kidane was sent to volunteer in Israel at a critical time and was a key element in retrieving testimonies from refugees who fell victim to torture in Sinai.
Kidane said that over the past two years she had interviewed many of asylum seekers and has heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories of extortion, imprisonment, torture and death.
The Knesset's Subcommittee on the Trafficking in Women convened Tuesday to discuss the horrors experienced by asylum seekers who arrive in Israel. According to data presented by Shimon Bibas, who heads Saharonim Prison, 36 pregnant women were detained at the facility this year, five of whom were pregnant due to rape. Fifteen were sexually assaulted while crossing Sinai on their way to Israel; of them, 13 underwent prolonged sexual abuse.
Of the men who arrived at Saharonim this year, 19 were starved, 35 were severely beaten and six were lashed with a whip. In total, 6,000 men and 2,500 women crossed the border into Israel since March.
Also according to the data, 15 young women who were raped before arriving in Israel from Sinai remain untreated at the detention facility due to lack of space at the Maagan Shelter for trafficking victims.