No one in the Middle East is safe from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) as the jihadists expand their caliphate through Syria and Iraq. The Yazidis, a religious sect whose worship involves elements of Zoroastrianism, were hit the hardest — the terrorists believe them to be devil worshippers. Slowly, more girls and young women have escaped to tell the horrors they endured at the jihadists’ hands.
Farida, 19, recently spoke to NBC News. She was one of eighty girls up for auction as a sex slave in Raqqa, the caliphate’s capital. She said: “the girls wept – and the men laughed.” The news crew showed Farida a video of them joking about the slave auction. From NBC News:
Farida stared at the video of about a dozen ISIS fighters. The militants laughed and cracked jokes about their sexual prowess, the older ones saying the younger men weren’t ready for all the fun they were about to have with their personal sex slaves.
We asked Farida: “Is this how they behaved? They were laughing and happy?”
“Yes. Exactly,” she said. “They were very happy.”
Farida recognized two of the men in the video, one with long hair and a man sitting next to him on a couch. “They came to buy girls. I saw them there,” she said.
She didn’t know their names — but Farida realized this wasn’t just any day at the slave auction in Raqqa. It was her day on the dock. The men were joking about buying and abusing her as well as her friends, classmates and cousins. Farida couldn’t take her eyes off the iPad.
In November, a video uploaded on YouTube showed Islamic State jihadists on “slave market day.” It is unknown if is the same video NBC News showed Farida. The men joked and laughed in the video. One man said he could buy a slave for a pistol, while another said eye color makes a difference.
“The price differs if she has blue eyes,” he said. “I will sell her for a Glock! If she is 15 years old, I have to check her, check her teeth. If she doesn’t have teeth, why would I want her?”
A Libyan man named Abu Atheer purchased Farida, but that night “she broke a piece of glass in the bathroom and slashed her wrists.” Atheer brought her to an Islamic State infirmary, but the terrorists locked her in a prison “reserved for unruly Yazidi slaves” after she recovered. Farida claims the room was dark, and the ISIS men beat the women everyday.
Atheer sold Farida to an Islamic State fighter, but before he could rape her, she tried to hang herself with a veil. This upset the fighter and he sold her to a group of Libyans:
They eventually moved her to an outpost by a gas plant in the desert outside the city of Deir e-zour in eastern Syria. They told her she would never escape the desert. The Libyans were brutal. Fadia says she was unable to hold out and was raped by several men over the course of the following two months.
“We said we are human beings. They said, ‘You are our property,'” she said. “They said, ‘You are infidels. We will do what we want with you.'”
She still refused to have sex with the men, which brought more beatings. She sliced her wrists, but survived. The women at the trailer with Farida were forced to do laundry, cook, and clean. However, her friend Hweida, 12, stayed with the same 50-year-old man in Raqqa.
“There are girls younger than her (Hweida),” Farida explained to NBC. “They raped girls who were 9 or 10 or even 8. They said they preferred the young ones. They would say the older ones know a few things, the young ones know nothing.”
But now both girls are free. The trailer Farida lived in remained unlocked for an unknown reason. One night the girls decided to escape:
Farida’s captors were wrong to assume she wouldn’t try to escape again. One night she left the door of her trailer slightly ajar. The ISIS militants, she says, were “busy” with two of the other girls. The remaining six in the trailer decided to make a run for it. Opening the door as quietly they could, they slipped out and started walking into the desert. It was already dark and rainy, which Farida believes helped give them cover. The six women walked through the night, unsure where to go. When the sun rose, they hid in an abandoned house and stayed there until the following night without food or water. They set out again under the cover of darkness, but by now one of the girls, whom Farida estimates was not older than 12, was getting sick. She was exhausted, dehydrated and couldn’t walk any further.
They knocked on one door and the son told his father they could make money from holding the girls hostage. The father and son “demanded tens of thousands of dollars” for the girls from their respective families. The Kurdish government and families paid the ransom and a truck arrived to take the girls to Kurdistan. Hweida decided to leave one night and kept walking through Raqqa until she decided to ask for help. Like Farida, the residents demanded money for her. Relatives gave them money and now Hweida is in a refugee camp.