Yezidi children commit suicide to avoid ISIS sex slavery — Report


In August 2014, Islamic State (IS/ISIS) militants seized control of Shingal, a predominately Kurdish-Yezidi (also referred to as Ezidi) town. Thousands of men were rounded up, and killed because of their religious affiliation. Women were kidnapped, some sold on the “sex slave market” in Syria, while others were forcefully married off to men twice their age.

Amnesty International has published a new report based on interviews with over 40 former captives, which highlights the harrowing accounts of kidnapped Yezidi women from Shingal town. Most of the women, and young girls, some as young as 10-years-old have attempted to commit suicide.

20-year-old Luna told Amnesty International, “Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself. She was very beautiful. I think she knew she was going to be taken away”.

The report also shows that two sisters tried to strangle each other to escape being married off to militants belonging to ISIS.

ISIS militants divided the kidnapped women by age, and categorised them into groups. Those who were considered beautiful, younger and virgin were more desirable. Women who resisted being taken were “beaten and pulled away by the hair”. Some of the women were “beaten with electric cables”.

16-year-old Rana was abducted from her village in Shingal. She was sold to a man twice her age, her mother was also kidnapped, and had given birth while in captivity. Her father, alongside dozens of other men were killed by ISIS militants.

A small number of women who were kidnapped by the extremist group have managed to escape, and reveal the horrifying details of their captivity. Countless women and young girls are still being held captive by ISIS, many of them have been separated from each other, unaware of whether they have any surviving family members.

The damage to the Yezidi community, who have faced countless genocidal campaigns, is severe. Their entire community has been destroyed. Normality will never resume within their neighbourhoods in Shingal, which has been tainted with a history of injustice.

It is essential that women who have managed to escape captivity tell their stories at their own pace, without being forced or exploited. These women are at a fragile stage, and should be offered counselling in Kurdistan Region or abroad.