Some of the young Yazidi women who were captured by the Islamic State were so desperate that they attempted suicide in order to escape, but their captor kept them alive so that they can be sold as sex slaves.
Kurdish smugglers, who are partly funded by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), are able to rescue around 3,000 Yazidis from ISIS territories, but around 3,500 more still remain in captivity, Yahoo News reported.
Bahara, one of the rescued women, was able to recount her experiences at a slave brothel in Raqqa. She recalled hearing screams when ISIS fighters came to buy new girls.
“The girls would tell me their stories, they wanted to commit suicide, they wanted to die, but ISIS would not let them. They would try to cut their wrists,” said Bahara.
One of the smugglers who is participating in the rescue efforts is a Yazidi businessman named Abdullah. He said that more than 50 of his own family members had been captured by ISIS, which prompted him to start his rescue operation.
Each rescue would cost the Kurdish government as much as $8,000, which includes the rent for a network of safe houses.
A nongovernmental organization known as Yazda has provided support for the Yazidi women who were rescued from ISIS. However, the organization was shut down by the KRG officials, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Yazda staff told HRW that it received no warning from the Kurdish government, and they added that the “officers provided no reason, no paperwork and no information on how long it was being closed. The officers put locks on the doors to prevent staff from coming back.”
Former ISIS sex slaves Nadia Murad and Lamya Haji Bashar have called on the EU to recognize the ongoing genocide against the Yazidis.
“The EU must call for its prosecution and international accountability for Isis, for example before the International Criminal Court, Tribunal, or a special court,” the girls said in a joint statement, according to The Independent.
They also appealed to the EU and the international community to establish a safe zone for the protection of Yazidis, Christians and other minorities.