Zainab Bangura is a United Nations envoy on sexual violence. She has been traveling the Middle East of late to visit with girls who were abducted and captured by ISIS fighters, sold as wives in sex slave markets to recruited fighters, and escaped on their own.
“They kidnap and abduct women when they take areas so they have – I don’t want to call it a fresh supply – but they have new girls,” she said….
“Some were taken, locked up in a room – over 100 of them in a small house – stripped naked and washed.” They were then made to stand in front of a group of men who decided “what you are worth”.
As if that is not degrading enough, some girls are sold for thousands of dollars, some for as little as “the price of a pack of cigarettes.” Why the powers that be in the Islamic State or ISIS or ISIL do this seems to be fairly simple: recruitment of new fighters.
Many of the men recruited for this particular jihad/caliphate effort are from Syria and Iraq. According to the United Nations, over 25,000 foreigners have fought for ISIS. They are lured with the prospect of not just the 72 virgins after martyrdom, but one for their very own here on earth.
Abducting girls has become a key part of the Isis strategy to recruit foreign fighters who have been travelling to Iraq and Syria in record numbers over the last 18 months.
“This is how they attract young men: we have women waiting for you, virgins that you can marry,” Bangura said. “The foreign fighters are the backbone of the fighting.”
Proving the old adage that sex still sells, even when one is buying the sex in anticipation of sure death in a war.
The girls whose number is completely unknown, however, are not treated well by any stretch of the imagination. The word most often used is “medieval,” a word that is a bit of an insult to the people of the Middle Ages who actually did make great advances in civilized living. This is much closer to pagan, uncivilized and barbaric.
The news is not all bad, though. According to Bangura, the girls who have escaped are welcomed back into the indigenous populations of the Middle East for healing and to rebuild their lives. Bangura particularly praised the Yazidis, Kurds living in Turkey, for their acceptance of these mistreated girls and their compassion, and noted that the Turkish government has nothing to say.
Bangura returned to the west and toured the European capitals after speaking to these girls as well as political and religious leaders. She is now back at the United Nations to bring word of the plight of these young ladies. A technical team is to be formed to address the issues raised by Bangura’s accounts.