She Escaped ISIS Sex-Trade Captivity, Now She Is Trying To Raise Awareness

“I did not know anything about what ISIS was or what it was going to do.”

Men and women that were living near the ISIS territory never imagined that their world would be torn apart this way. The Yezidi population of about 230,000 people are considered “kafir” which means “nonbelievers”. They do not practice Islam and reject any form of radicalism from their society. Of course, this made them the prime target of the ISIS.

21-Year-old Naida Murad Basee Taha now finds herself in New York ready to testify in front of a U.N Security Council about the crimes being committed to the Yezidi minority under ISIS rule. Over 5,200 Yezidi people were abducted since 2014. At least, 3,400 are still in ISIS captivity, mostly consisting of women. The fate of the men was much more grim, as thousands have been slaughtered or forced to fight alongside ISIS.

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For the women, ISIS instituted the practice of slavery within its territory. It has been reported by some survivors that rape inside ISIS is not only allowed, but encouraged. ISIS fighters believe that if a woman would be raped by 10 Muslims, she will become converted into Islam. There is even a market dedicated to the enslavement of women where girls are bought and sold as commodities or rewards for ISIS soldiers.

It was in last July that Nadia was living in the village of Kocho in northern Iraq. Then, on Aug. 15, 2014, ISIS fighters arrived at their village and rounded everyone up at the school. The women were separated from the men and were put on the second floor of the building. 312 men were murdered in just 1 hour, including six of Nadia’s brothers and stepbrothers. Nadia witnessed the horrors that day, and knew what ISIS was capable of. It has been reported that Kurdish officials uncovered a mass grave there, of about 80 elderly women who had been dubbed too old to be desirable.

For the remaining women who were considered to be young and attractive, they were taken to the city of Mosul, where they were distributed among the fighters to be enslaved. During those troubling days, many women committed suicide in order to not have to live through all the horrors that were going to be brought up on them. Other women would mess up their hair, and smear themselves in battery acid in order to look so unattractive that no man would touch them. Those efforts were pointless, since they were forced every morning to wash up and “look pretty”.

Feel free to visit TIME to see the detailed interview of Nadia. We do advise that it may be too graphic for some viewers.

Time Magazine