More horrifying accounts of young Yazidi women being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery by the Islamic State are being published weekly in Western media.
Israel Hayom described the dire situation Friday in an extensive report. According to Paulo Kosaka, a well-known Portuguese politician who traveled to the region, the problem of slavery is more widespread than the UN initially acknowledged. “At least several thousand women were enslaved overnight,” he says. “In many cases, these are very young girls, only 11 or 12 years old.”
Many of the women and girls were taken in August, when IS militants took control of the Sinjar region of Iraq where they lived. Some managed to escape their captors, only to discover they had no home to return to. Refugees from Sinjar are now living primarily in the area of Dohuk, a Kurdish city in northern Iraq.
The Yazidis are a religious minority. Culturally Kurdish, they practice a tradition which combines elements of Sufism and Zoroastrianism, making them apostates and idolaters in they eyes of the Islamic extremists of IS.
“Before Shaytan [Satan] reveals his doubts to the weak-minded and weak hearted, one should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shari’ah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’an and the narration of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam,” IS stated in its Dabiq magazine, as reported by The Christian Post.
Now, families of the kidnapped women and girls are paying enormous ransoms to get them back. Nearly 150 girls have escaped or been bought back, according the Christian Science Monitor, some for as much as a year’s salary, or $5,000. Kurdish sources say their government has already paid $1.5 million to retrieve captured slaves, both men and women.
One teenaged girl, Sabreen, spoke to the Christian Science Monitor about her ordeal. “Lots of men used to come and look around and when they would see a girl they liked they would say ‘I want to buy that one,’” she says. “There was an emir who was taking money for the girls – $1,000 to $1,500.” She was ultimately rescued by an uncle, Hamid.
“Suddenly you get a phone call out of the blue saying ‘We have your daughter.’ They don’t tell you their names or anything like that,” Hamid told the Christian Science Monitor. “Or ‘We have your girl. We want this amount of money.’”
“If you can find someone you can trust, that man goes and says, ‘I want this girl to marry,’ and he pays it straight to IS,” he said. “You can’t say ‘I want to buy three girls back’ – they won’t give them to you like that.”
Initially, the family paid $10,000 to rescue one of their relatives. Now, the price has come down, but not enough. “People were willing to pay any amount of money,” says Hamid. “But now in my own family, we have about 30 girls missing. If you have to pay $5,000 for each one of them … you will not be able to buy all of them back.”