As reported over the past five years, Egypt is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Egyptian children are vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor in domestic service, street begging, and agricultural work. Individuals from the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait purchase Egyptian women and girls for “temporary” or “summer” marriages for the purpose of commercial sex, including cases of sex trafficking, as well as forced labor; these arrangements are often facilitated by the victims’ parents and marriage brokers, who profit from the transaction. Child sex tourism occurs primarily in Cairo, Alexandria, and Luxor. Egyptian men are subjected to forced labor in construction, agriculture, and low-paying service jobs in neighboring countries.
Men and women from South and Southeast Asia and East Africa are subjected to forced labor in domestic service, construction, cleaning, and begging. Foreign domestic workers—who are not covered under Egyptian labor laws—from Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia are highly vulnerable to forced labor, experiencing excessive working hours, confiscation of passports, withheld wages, denial of food and medical care, and physical and psychological abuse. Women and girls, including refugees and migrants, from Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East endure sex trafficking in Egypt. Syrian refugees who have settled in Egypt remain increasingly vulnerable to exploitation, including forced child labor, sex trafficking, and transactional marriages of girls—which can lead to sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, and forced labor. Irregular migrants and asylum-seekers from the Horn of Africa, who transit Egypt en route to Europe, are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation along this migration route. Observers reported an increase in West African migrant trafficking victims, though it was unclear if this was the result of increased victim identification or an actual increase in numbers.
Until 2013, thousands of cases of forced labor and sexual servitude, smuggling, abduction, and extortion of African migrants in the Sinai Peninsula occurred at the hands of criminal groups. International organizations observed the flow of these migrants into the Sinai declined substantially in 2015, due in part to continued Egyptian military operations. Anecdotal reports suggested these criminal groups have relocated from the Sinai to Egypt’s border with Libya, where migrants remain vulnerable to the same abuses, including trafficking. However, Israeli NGOs reported that Bedouin groups in the Sinai resumed abuse—including trafficking crimes—against asylum-seekers on a limited scale in 2015. According to victim testimonies, Bedouin groups forced approximately 61 Sudanese asylum-seekers to work in agriculture, tree lumbering, and marijuana growing; these groups physically abused the victims, including beatings and deprivation of food and water and extorted money from them for their release. On average, the Bedouin held the victims captive for one month before releasing them.