ISIS is selling women and girls for as little as $10 or 10 cigarettes, and what becomes of the females is the stuff of nightmares.
Many of the girls and younger women become sex slaves, while the older women are often beaten and used as slaves, according to NBC News. Many, if not most, of the women under ISIS torture are Yazidis, a group of ancient religious minorities who come from areas near northwestern Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain.
ISIS fighters attacked the Yazidi villages and separated the men from the women. Boys who had reached puberty were killed with the men. Women and children were held as captives, and survivors of the attacks say that the ISIS militants would rape the females at night.
Now women who are escaping from the grips of ISIS are speaking out. Some women say they have been traded or sold three or four times from ISIS fighter to ISIS fighter. Many say they have been traded for weapons, cash, or just 10 cigarettes, according to NBC News.
The women are also used to get ransom money. ISIS demands a hefty ransom from families who want their daughters back, but many women rely on smugglers to help them escape the brutal torture that ISIS inflicts upon them.
ISIS issued a pamphlet in 2014 regarding the rules of treatment of women slaves and how an owner can interact with them, including through sexual intercourse and beating them. The FAQs of the pamphlet offered a disturbing answer to the question of sex with a very young girl, and according to the FAQ it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a female who has not yet gone through puberty.
Despite these horrific abuses issued to women, many women still fight for ISIS. According to the Daily Kos, about 15 percent of ISIS fighters are women. They are not treated like the Yazidi women, and some claim they get special and preferential treatment.
However, one person from the eye-opening “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently” group thinks all women lose out under ISIS.
“I can say that women are the people suffering the most under ISIS. They can’t show their faces. ISIS bothers them a lot. They take sticks and slash them on the street if the veil shows the eyes. They say, ‘Hey, hey, do you want to marry me?’ People have become so poor, the families so weak, that some give up their daughters to ISIS. They accept it. Sometimes ISIS forces them to do this. The Yazidis — ISIS says these people believe in Satan. And because of that their women are just traded from man to man in ISIS, sold, raped, abandoned.”
Once women have escaped from ISIS, they return home beaten and broken. They are afraid and are often injured. They may have access to basic health services, but after limited treatment, the women and girls are on their own. While a decree has been proclaimed to accept these women as victims of ISIS, the women are stigmatized and often cannot escape the shunning from family members and their communities.
Many women choose not to tell their families what happened to them when they were abducted by ISIS. It’s easier for them not to say anything rather than admit something happened which could leave them shunned and embarrassed.
Other women say nothing out of fear that ISIS could hurt other family members still held captive by ISIS.
It is estimated that ISIS currently holds about 2,500 Yazidi women and children captive.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]