IS Enslavs Women and Children- Report
The Islamic State (IS) organization held thousands of Yazidi women and children as slaves in Syria and Iraq in 2014. Almost immediately, their fellow Yazidis began a rescue operation, but almost ten years later, their work is still incomplete.
Also Read – Iraq Pays Overdue Debts of $10 Billion to Iran
Bahar and her three young children had just undergone their fifth sale in November 2015.
She was one of many Yazidi women captured by IS after they overran her village in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region 18 months earlier. The Yazidis, a religious minority that has been present in Iraq for almost 6,000 years, were regarded as heretics by the IS fighters.
Her husband and oldest son were removed. She thinks they were murdered before being interred in a mass grave.
Bahar recalls being lined up in a room with her three other kids, crying because they believed they would be beheaded. However, they were being sold instead. The horror started then.
As the property of the IS fighters, Bahar claims she was forced to serve them. “When they wanted, I had to behave like their wives. If they wanted to, they could beat me. She also beat her young children, who are all under 10 years old. A rifle butt struck one of her daughters in the face.
Abu Khattab, a Tunisian, was her fourth “owner”. We stayed in his house, but he also let me work as a cleaner at two other IS bases on his terms. I used to clean, go to work, and get raped at all of these places. Additionally, there were constant air raids. IS fighters would be hiding from the bombing or scurrying around getting weapons. Chaos reigned, and it was worse than a nightmare.
One day, a white car with blacked-out windows pulled up as Bahar and her kids were inside Abu Khattab’s home. The driver resembled many other IS fighters because he was all in black and had a long beard.
Bahar became aware that she and her kids were once again being sold. Bahar screamed at the man to kill her because she was so overpowered by the circumstance.
But what followed fundamentally altered everything.
The driver informed them as they left, “I am taking you somewhere else.” Bahar became agitated because she didn’t understand what was happening or believed the man. He halted the vehicle and made a phone call. Then he gave Bahar the phone. It was Abu Shuja’s voice, who is renowned for organizing the rescue of numerous women and children. She now understood that the driver had purchased her so that both she and her kids could be saved.
Bahar was taken by car to a building site close to the Syrian city of Raqqa. After being dropped off, she was informed that a man would arrive and announce the code word “Sayeed”. She ought to accompany him.
Sure enough, a motorbike rider arrived and said the phrase. We are in IS territory, and there are checkpoints, he said as he motioned for Bahar and her three children to board his motorbike. If they inquire, remain silent so they won’t be able to tell your accent is Yazidi.
They were so kind to us there – we showered, they gave us food and painkillers, and they said, “You are in safe hands now,” according to Bahar. The man then drove them to his house.
To demonstrate that he had Bahar and her children, another man took pictures of them and sent them to Abu Shuja. The family was then awakened at around 3:00 the following morning and instructed to prepare for another move. The man whose home they were staying in gave Bahar his mother’s ID card and advised her to claim she was taking her son to the doctor if anyone should stop and inquire. “We passed numerous IS checkpoints while driving, but nobody stopped us.”
When they arrived in a village near the border between Syria and Iraq, Bahar was greeted by Abu Shuja and her brother. She claims, “I was on the verge of collapsing.” “I don’t recall much else that followed that,”
Following IS’s capture of Sinjar, more than 6,400 Yazidi women and children are alleged to have been sold into slavery. In what a UN commission referred to as genocide, another 5,000 Yazidis were killed.
Not just Abu Shuja, who orchestrated Bahar’s rescue, was worried about the women and children taken hostage by IS. A group called Kinyat was founded by businessman Bahzad Fahran, who lived outside of IS-controlled territory, with the goal of rescuing Yazidi women and children and documenting the crimes committed by IS fighters.
In particular, Kinyat learned that IS fighters were using Telegram to buy and sell kidnapped Yazidi women and children. According to Bahzad, “We would infiltrate these online groups using stolen names or using the names of IS fighters.”
He points to screenshots of the Telegram chats he saw printed out on the wall of his office in the Kurdish region of Iraq. One of them reads in English, “12 years old not virgin very beautiful,” and offers a girl for sale. She was in Raqqa, Syria, and cost $13,000 (£10,000). He then displays to me a photo of the girl posing suggestively on a leather couch.
According to Bahzad, these Telegram chats would contain information about the location of the Yazidis who had been abducted: “We would get in touch with people living there and ask them to look for this kid.”
Young boys could leave the house more, making it simpler to locate them: “We’d also get the [kidnapped person’s] family to send information so when we confronted the boy, we could give them evidence that we were genuine,” says Bahzad.
“We had to have a series of codes or signals when we were rescuing families, like women with their children, to let them know we were there to rescue them and to let us know when they are alone.
Each process was different, but it all required cash and forged documents to pass IS group checkpoints.
Yazidis couldn’t enter IS areas because it was too dangerous, so the rescue operation had to be completed by local smugglers who were more experienced in transporting illegal goods like alcohol and cigarettes.
According to Bahzad, “These guys did it all for money.” “Their only motivation was that. Thousands of dollars were paid to a lot of people to buy back these girls.
According to Kinyat, 6,417 Yazidis were captured, but 3,568 either managed to flee or were saved. Although Bahzad personally saved 55 people, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which is supported by the UN, estimates that 2,700 Yazidi women and children remain unaccounted for. Many of them might still be in the custody of their captors.
According to Bahzad, it is getting harder and harder to find victims. The combatants and their families left the area after IS was vanquished. Some have traveled to Europe, while others are in Turkey, Iraq, or Syria.
According to Bahzad, there are Yazidi kids who were five or six when they were kidnapped and have lost all memory of their identity or their language: “They do not know Yazidi culture. Additionally, they ignored their families.
Additionally uncertain is the Yazidi people’s future in general
Haider Elias, the leader of Yazda, the largest Yazidi advocacy group, claims that despite centuries of attacks, many Muslims, young and old, continue to hold the belief that Yazidis should convert or perish. And because of this, we think IS is not the end of it or the extent of it, which causes the Yazidis a lot of fear.
Nearly half of the 300,000 Yazidis who had to leave their homes in Sinjar because of IS are still living in tent camps like Bahar in the Kurdish part of Iraq. They can’t go back to their homes in the Sinjar district because it’s almost completely destroyed and because it’s right on the border between Iraq and Syria, where militias that came to fight IS are now fighting for power.
Elias claims that many Yazidis are currently migrating and that the community is terrified that it will soon be the target of another massacre. “For them, security is extremely important. It’s a significant event. They lack confidence.
Bahar’s freedom cost about £16,000 ($20,000). She is now 40 years old, but despite her mostly grey hair and headscarf, she appears much older than her actual age.
Since being rescued, she has spent eight years living in a camp. She pulls out a plastic folder containing images of her missing family members while sitting on a thin mattress on the floor of her tent.
Bahar has suffered from severe physical and mental illness as a result of not knowing what happened to her husband and oldest son, as well as from the trauma of being repeatedly sexually assaulted.
She claims that although her other children are still with her, they are constantly worried and in shock. “My daughter has injuries from the beatings she endured,” she claims. I must continue to struggle and move forward. However, the way things are right now, it’s like we’re the walking dead.
IS Enslavement of Women and Children, End Note-
Women and children being held as slaves by the Islamic State is an atrocity that must be stopped. We have seen how effective international organizations can be in battling this kind of oppression, so it is our responsibility to do so. We can significantly improve the lives of those involved in this dark period of human history through advocacy work, heightened awareness campaigns, and financial support for those affected by IS slavery. We must stick together until every child and woman held as property by the Islamic State is set free.