ISIS has singled out the Yezidi minority, notably its women and children, for particularly brutal treatment. In August 2014, ISIS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yezidi men, women and children who were fleeing the IS takeover from the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country. Hundreds of the men were killed and others were forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry ISIS fighters and supporters. Ariana was kidnapped by ISIS in August 2014 when they invaded her school, divided the girls up and sold them. Ariana was held in ISIS captivity for 9 months and sold five times to different men. She was finally able to escape when she convinced one of the men to sell her back to her family.
There are an estimated 520,000 people in enslavement in the Arab States. Within the region, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen had both the highest prevalence of modern slavery and the highest absolute number of victims, accounting for 76 percent of the victims in the region. There is an estimated 174,000 people enslaved in Iraq (GSI 2018). Women and girls have been kidnapped by ISIS. Bought and sold like cattle in markets, raped and tortured daily, they have experienced unspeakable horrors at the hands of their captors. Noor is 22. She was kidnapped by ISIS in 2012, from Kojo in Northern Iraq. She was held captive for several months, suffering daily rape and horrific torture. Incredibly, she managed to escape and today, she is desperate to share her experiences and to raise awareness about the ongoing suffering among those who have escaped.
The Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking people who live principally in northern Iraq – where there are around 500,000-600,000. There are another 200,000 settled in other parts of the world. The Yazidis have faced extreme persecution and marginalization in their home communities within Iraq due to their religion and beliefs. Starting in August 2014, ISIS has continuously targeted Yazidis in Iraq and Syria in its campaign to “purify” the region: kidnapping, raping, and forcing girls and women into sexual slavery, and murdering men in mass killings. In 2015, news reports revealed the discovery of a mass grave believed to have remains from more than 70 Yazidi women from Kocho village, where “Rozina” is from.
The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in China. Women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa are trafficked in to forced marriage in the country for fees of up to £30,000. The gender imbalance caused by the One Child Policy and the cultural preference for male children, has caused a shortage of women which has led to the trafficking of women to be sold as brides. As a result many women find themselves either deceived by promises of employment, sold or abducted and forced into marrying Chinese men who have paid for them. Seng Ja Ngai, in 2014 at the age of 35, after being displaced from her village and forced to stay in an IDP camp where she could not earn enough money to support her five children, Seng Ja Ngai accepted an offer of work in China from a friend. However, upon arrival she was sold and forced to marry a Chinese man and was held in China for a year. After she escaped, she returned to the IDP camp.