A senior United Nations official says Islamic State is circulating a slave price list for captured women and children, and that the group’s ongoing appeal and barbarity pose an unprecedented challenge.
The official, Zainab Bangura, said that on a trip to Iraq in April she was given a copy of an Islamic State pamphlet, which included the list, showing that captured children as young as one fetch the highest price. The bidders include both the group’s own fighters and wealthy Middle Easterners.
The list shows the group’s view of the value of those it captures and surfaced some eight months ago, though its authenticity came under question. Bangura, who is the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict and was also in Jordan and Turkey, said she has verified that the document came from Islamic State and reflects real transactions.
“The girls get peddled like barrels of petrol,” she said in an interview last week in New York. “One girl can be sold and bought by five or six different men. Sometimes these fighters sell the girls back to their families for thousands of dollars of ransom.”
For Islamic State fighters, the prices in Iraqi dinars for boys and girls aged 1 to 9 are equal to about $165, Bangura said. Prices for adolescent girls are $124 and it’s less for women over 20.
The militia’s leaders first take those they wish, after which rich outsiders from the region are permitted to bid thousands of dollars, Bangura said. Those remaining are then offered to the group’s fighters for the listed prices.