Ethiopia: TPLF, a Niche of Human Trafficking

DECEMBER 15, 2014 | 

Thousands of Eritreans have lived in Sudan as refugees due to the 30 years of Ethiopian colonization. Sudan has never exploited the plight of Eritrean refugees in a manner that the regime in Ethiopia currently does by creating a criminal niche that manipulates the realities. But as for the west, why the backtracking and sudden change of hearts? Why scramble to return these refugees to their home countries? Why now, after they opened the flood gates that drowned countless lives into the sea?

By AmanuelBiedemariam,

AFTER the war of 2000 failed to undo independence, the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and their handlers developed schemes to displace Eritrean youth out of their country, homes, and livelihood. They targeted the youth to deprive Eritrea of the workforce necessary to build a nation and degrade the Eritrean military capacities to launch one major assault and decapitate the country when opportune.

They lured Eritrean youth with incentives of visas to the US, the EU, and other friendly nations. As long as Eritreans could reach other countries, they asked no questions they granted them asylums.

Thence, when the African youth were desperate to get out of Africa, and when human trafficking is a lucrative business, by default, they made Eritrean nationality the most valuable and coveted citizenship in Africa and beyond. Today, countless individuals from other countries have received political asylums as Eritreans with minimum scrutiny.

Ethiopians from Tigray, TPLF officials, and members are the main benefactors. In Washington DC and other US cities, many individuals from Tigray are granted asylum as Eritreans. It is an open secret. And more Tigrayans are coming into the US using falsified Eritrean documents. But why are the TPLF/Ethiopian authorities allowing this blunt illegal act to take place? Because it is all win-win and serves many purposes:

  • Help their sinister ploys to demonize Eritrea: The TPLF uses the exaggerated numbers of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia for reports. The international NGOs and UN agencies could utilize the excessive numbers to bolster claims of oppression in Eritrea. The reprt is then passed on to the UNSC and used to manufacture punitive actions against Eritrea through the UN.
  • Lure Eritreans: The TPLF authorities exaggerate the number of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. They lure as many Eritreans as possible because it means more Tigrayans have opportunities to travel abroad for opportunities and education. It is a ploy to justify sending thousands of Tigrigna-speaking Tigaryans as Eritreans into the US. After entering the US with lies and falsified documents, these Tigrayans tried to damage the image and the unity of Eritreans. They advocate against Eritrea as Eritrean refugees all over the US. The TPLF, true to its dubious nature and to fool Eritreans into softening their position against the TPLF, claims to be giving-back properties to those 80,000 Eritreans that it looted and deported after the resumption of war in 1998.
  • Remittances: Since most of those going to the US from Ethiopia as Eritreans are from Tigray, the remittances they send will benefit their families in Tigray.
  • Diaspora Lobbying: The Ethiopian community in the Diaspora presents the TPLF regime with the most significant challenge because it is a well-established community with a formidable presence. They prevented Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn from moving freely during the recent Africa US leaders Summit. Meles Zenawi was humiliated in front of world leaders by a journalist that heckled him. In addition, the vocal Diaspora’s lobbying activities are placing TPLF at odds with leaders in congress and humiliating the TPLF in every turn. To counter what it calls “Extremist Diaspora,” the TPLF is trying to bolster its presence in the US and, one way to accomplish this is to enter as Eritreans.
  • Lessen attention on Ethiopian refugees: Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian refugees are suffering in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and many places around the globe. It gives the TPLF regime opportunity to deflect attention onto Eritreans.


For decades, thousands of Eritreans have settled in Sudan as refugees that fled oppressive Ethiopian regimes. The people of Sudan have always accorded the people of Eritrea incredible hospitality and brotherly love. Sudan has never exploited the plight of refugees or tried to shame Eritrean refugees like the shameless TPLF regime.

Illegal immigration is a global issue that requires special attention. Nations should not engage in activities that encourage illegal immigration. Governments should cooperate and find ways to help bring stability to stem the flow of refugees and foster more excellent stability.

On the contrary, Ethiopia is engaging in activities that the international community should condemn and hold to account. These deceits, however, are part of a grander scheme directed by the Obama administration. In a speech he gave at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on September 25, 2012, President Barack Obama said,

I recently renewed sanctions on some of the worst abusers, including North Korea and Eritrea. We’re partnering with groups that help women and children escape from the grip of their abusers. We’re helping other countries step up their own efforts. And we’re seeing results.

Many countries cooperated with the US policy that encouraged the acceptance of Eritrean asylum seekers based on open standards. It includes Europe, Scandinavian, Israel, and other countries.  That meant open invitation that encouraged floods of refugees to these destinations.

Israel, for instance, uncharacteristically loosened their standards to accommodate Eritreans.

Israel is a Jewish state that does not recognize the Right to Return of Palestinians. Therefore, it was a shocker when Isreal, as a political move, started to accept Eritrean refugees unabated.

The majority of the first wave of Eritrean refugees reached Israel through the Sinai desert. The State of Eritrea forewarned Israeli authorities of the repercussions and met deaf ears.

Immediately after that, Israel found the situation uncontrollable. Thousands entered Israel, forcing Israeli authorities to take stringent measures to stem the flow of incoming refugees and to manage those already in the process inside the country. Israel was forced to commit tremendous resources and employ strict measures that led to a rebuke by international rights groups.

These strict measures, coupled with abrupt political changes in Egypt, forced the refugees to seek alternate outlets. They started to flood the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, which led to horrendous atrocities like the Lampedusa tragedy. Today the streets of Europe are filled with refugees from Africa, creating significant issues and resistance from citizens in affected countries. These are countries facing economic hardships and unemployment. This backlash is forcing Europe to deal with the massive refugee problem urgently.

Today Europe is no longer pretending that their refugee problem is Eritrea specific. They have realized that they have inadvertently opened the floodgates and decided to deal with them by directly meeting with the source countries.

On November 28, The EU Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative was launched in Khartoum Sudan that representatives of 28 EU member states and 10 African states, namely Eritrea, Libya, Republic of Sudan, Egypt, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Tunisia participated.

Scandinavian countries are grappling with these issues in the same manner. The floods of refugees that claim to be Eritrean asylum seekers skyrocketed and presented major social, security, and economic problems beyond their control, forcing them to seek alternative solutions.

Norway placed restrictions on Eritreans who were granted asylum as refugees, who claimed to have fled because of persecution in Eritrea from going to Sudan. It found that they used Sudan as a backdoor into Eritrea. They also found that Ethiopian and Sudanese citizens returned to their countries for visits after receiving asylum as Eritreans.

Denmark sent a delegation into Eritrea on a fact-finding mission to help them decide how to handle the influx of asylum seekers. After their visit, the Danish delegation refuted all the human rights abuses claims against Eritrea and said,

“That international reports of up to 10,000 political prisoners in Eritrea is difficult to harmonize with the reality on the ground.” And as a result, determined, Denmark will grant asylum “Under much tougher criteria than before.”

These significant developments point to the guilt of the collaborators; expose their racist and sinister agendas that aim to destabilize not only Eritrea but also the entire region to exploit the rich resources and strategic locations using corrupt mercenary puppets.


Why are they backtracking and changing suddenly? Why scramble to return these refugees to their home countries? Why now, after they opened the flood gates that drowned countless lives into the sea?

Europe is full of refugees from all over the world. The geopolitical global seen is fast changing. The developments in Yemen and fear of major instability in the Horn of Africa that can generate millions of refugees, coupled with the economic downturn in Europe, are compelling many countries to seek long-term solutions.

The EU and others are trying to untangle their policies from the US because it is standing against their interests and posing problems domestically. The US is also too busy with issues everywhere and unable to control agendas the way it has in the past. The situation in Yemen is making Saudi Arabia and Israel weary, and they are urging the US  to reconsider its policy on Eritrea.

However, the number one reason forcing these countries to change their views on these issues is Eritrea’s steadfast commitment to march forward despite so many obstacles thrown it’s way.

The brilliance of the Government of Eritrea, the people’s resilience, their commitment and ability to withstand these pressures have frustrated Europeans and others and compelled them to investigate on their own the realities inside Eritrea. It is because Eritrea foiled their sinister ploys with patience and time.

Eventually, their greed, ignorance, short-sighted racist outlook, their misguided belief that Eritrea will fold in a short time backfired. When they conceded to the US policy directions that led them to grant blanket political asylums to anyone claiming to be Eritrean, they miscalculated and failed to understand that this policy was an indirect invitation to everyone. Citizens from all over the world asked for political asylum as Eritreans. They also realized the corruption, human trafficking, and international crime rings as a direct consequence.

Interestingly, after they invested a lot of resources to drive out Eritrean youth, all these nations tried to force Eritrea into accepting all the refugees who claimed to be Eritreans to Eritrea. 

Eritrea told them they were free to come back without fear of persecution, and it also said it would not accept them back if the host nation forced them. It will only take those who are willing to return to Eritrea of their own free will.  

Eritrea brilliantly exposed their lies while still giving them room to get out of the puzzle if they so chose, and many have decided that way out.


The government of Eritrea is set to issue new Identification Cards soon. This ID is a game-changer because it will put a stop to criminal activities that take place in Ethiopia that encourage forgeries of Eritrean documents. Those that falsely claim to be Eritrean will be exposed. It will halt asylum-seeking based on false Eritrean IDs. It will help host nations sift through applicants easier because they will ask for Eritrean IDs or, as the Danes have announced, asylums will only be granted “Under much tougher criteria than before.”

These are the new realities, and the Europeans are determined to chart a new course in cooperation with Eritrea and others in the region that want to find real solutions to the problem.

As far as Ethiopia and those that have exploited these issues as Eritreans, there is saying,

A servant is no greater than his master.”

Hence, what the masters decide will ultimately reign. For example, it is laughable to see how Danish authorities rebuffed a professor, supposedly Eritrean, when he tried to dictate what the report should state. The data was compiled after their trips to Eritrea and other nations and after stringent investigations.


People will always try to find better living conditions where they can. Nations should refrain from encouraging unnecessary human flight and work to find ways that foster stability. Whether from Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, or Eritrea, youth flight is a setback and a significant loss for a region trying to get out of desperate situations. 

The TPLF has created a criminal niche whereby it can manipulate these realities and has taken full advantage to control the dynamics abroad, particularly in the US.

It is a new phenomenon to see a nation facilitate the illegal transfer of people, human trafficking. The TPLF regime is a criminal group responsible for massive migration problems that sent tens of thousands from Tigray disguised as Eritreans.

These are criminals who lied under oath. Therefore, it is the solemn duty of  Eritrean, Somali, and Ethiopian Americans to expose these criminals to immigration when they find them.

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