ISIS kidnapped her at 14, freed after 10 years of being sex slave

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A 24-year-old Yazidi woman was liberated from Islamic State (IS) captivity in northeast Syria on 4 February.

ISIS slave market video

The woman was 14 years old when IS stormed her village in Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014 and abducted her. In a TV interview, she recounted how she was sold as a sex slave several times, and at some point she was ‘owned’ by an elderly man called Abou Jaafar along with six other women – all of whom were brutally beaten and repeatedly raped during their captivity. She said: ‘they destroyed my life, they sold and bought me like a sheep’.

The woman was found and rescued together with her son and daughter during a security operation conducted by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) targeting the Al-Hawl Camp in northeast Syria where thousands of former IS fighters and their families are held. Whilst living in the camp the woman was forced to adopt a pseudonym to conceal her religious background for fear of retaliation from other IS women.

IS killed an estimated 5,000 Yazidi civilians for refusing to convert to Islam after it took control of large swathes of land in east and northeast Iraq in 2014. In addition, between 400,000 and 500,000 Yazidis were displaced, and 6,000-7,000, predominantly women and children, were enslaved. Many of them were sold and transferred to Syria. According to Hussein Qaedi, director of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s Yazidi Captives Rescue Department, over 2,800 of the abducted Yazidis remain unaccounted for.

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes news of the rescue of this Yazidi woman, and we hope she will soon be reunited with her family. We also commend the continuing efforts of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and the SDF in combating terrorism and rescuing captives. We call upon the international community to step up efforts to find and liberate those who are still missing and to hold those responsible for these heinous crimes accountable. In particular, we urge the Turkish authorities and the armed groups in northern Syria who are allied to them to cooperate fully with the international coalition to combat IS, to hunt down its sleeper cells in areas under their control, and to block their finance and escape routes.” — Christian Solidarity Worldwide