Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Victims of Torture and Human Trafficking

Israeli human rights groups estimate the number of trafficking victims from Sinai living in Israel to be about 7,000. Read ASSAF`s Report about  Sinai Torture Survivers in Israel.

These survivers were severely tortured in Sinai by means that include but are not limited to starvation, sexual abuse, electric shock, physical trauma and organ extraction. Despite these severe traumas, like other asylum seekers, they are also exposed to the danger of imprisonment for unlimited time under the Israeli Anti-Infiltration Law. As all asylum seekers in Israel, the torture survivors among them are not entitled to health and welfare services, leaving both physical and mental issues untreated, often causing deterioration in their physical and mental health. We call the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health to deal with these matters urgently, and provide services in order to prevent the victims of torture from the increased deterioration in their physical and mental wellbeing. 

The support within ASSAF

First, victims of torture and trafficking in the asylum seeker community have the opportunity to receive services within ASSAF that are given to all asylum seekers (for example: advocacy and support, psycho-social support, humanitarian assistance, food packages, etc.). In attempt to fit the needs of the victims, additional services were established:

  • A social worker who works solely with victims or torture who were not recognized as victims of human trafficking: Work includes case management which focuses on the unique needs of Sinai survivors. Interventions are multi-faceted and include support calls, personal care, working with family, friends and community of the individual, coordinating with outside institutions and organizations, appeals to the government, fundraising and support of civil society for themselves and others.
  • Individual treatment: Due to the rise of the applications of torture and trafficking victims to be recognized and the need to provide therapeutic response, asylum seekers who are interested can receive individual treatment once a week by a qualified therapist (social worker, psychologist, art therapist and more) who volunteer their time.
  • Women support group: We believe that meeting people in a similar circumstance as yourself can provide a great amount of emotional relief and build great strength. The group allows for an open space of solidarity, enhances opportunities to share resources and knowledge and develops a collective feeling which provides a sense of belonging. The support group for women meets once a week and is guided by a social worker. A support group for men will soon be opened additionally.       
  • Psycho-educational work:  A significant number of asylum seekers are not familiar with the psychosocial implications related to their traumatic experiences. Hence, some of our individual and group work is related to psycho-educational work, amplifying the awareness to subjects such as post trauma, coping mechanisms, self-help tools, accessibility of treatment and normalization of traumatic experience and its symptoms.   
  • Testimony collection project: One of the therapeutic tools we find effective in processing the traumatic experience is the use of narratives. During this project, asylum seekers who are interested, in cooperation with a qualified volunteer and a translator, produce a testimony of their traumatic experience.

 

The story of Kefle, survivor of the torture camps in Sinai who is supported by ASSAF: