‘I was sold six times’, female survivor of ISIL sexual enslavement tells her story as she awaits news of missing family

UNAMI/OHCHR report identifies over 200 mass graves in Iraq, a legacy of ISIL’s atrocities

Dohuk, Iraq - Thursday was often a day Nadia would go shopping, especially if there was a wedding over the weekend where she would dance to her favourite Kurdish songs. These days of joy and laughter ended abruptly when, in August 2014, ISIL gunmen invaded her village and her terrible ordeal began. 

When we met at her temporary accommodation at Kapartu camp for the displaced, on the outskirts of Dohuk in Kurdidstan Region, northern Iraq, in October 2018 she had just returned from the camp clinic to give blood, samples of which are needed to help with the identification of human remains in mass graves. The Government of Iraq is planning to begin exhumations of mass graves in Sinjar, about 130 kilometres from Mosul in Ninewa Governorate. A UN report identifies over 200 mass graves in Iraq, one of the legacies of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s relentless campaign of terror and violence. The report, “Unearthing Atrocities: Mass Graves in territory formerly controlled by ISIL”, was released by UNAMI’s Human Rights Office and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 06 November 2018. 

Nadia’s nightmare started in 2014 when she and 10 members of her family were apprehended by members of ISIL as they attempted to flee their home. 

“Once they (ISIL terrorists) captured us they took all our possessions; money, gold, mobiles, and then they separated the men from the women. After that, they transported us to Rambusia … then to Baaj, before taking us to an agricultural area in Kabuseh,” Nadia explained.

Nadia wept as she recounted what happened next to her and her three sisters. 

“At Kabuseh, at gun point, they separated me and my three sisters from our parents. The four of us were taken to Baaj and detained in a single room. One evening the Wali (ISIL mayor of Mosul) came with a group of men and each took a girl for himself. One of the men called Abu Al Hassan Al-Iraqi, took me; one of my sisters was taken by Abu Salih, the other by Abu Ghofran, and the fourth one by Abu Aysha Sharia. Al-Iraqi took me to Kocho village and married me,” she said.

Through tears Nadia conveyed how she was used as a sex slave and repeatedly raped, by multiple men. “I was sold six times before my uncle secured my release by paying some money in May 2015,” she recounted.

Nadia now lives with her mother, sisters, and little brothers who were also released after a ransom was paid to their captors in 2015. Two members of the family remain missing; her father and elder brother. 

“It’s very hard for me when I think of my father and brother. I wish to see them one day. I was very close with my father. We lived a simple and happy life. I think of them all the time. Right now, there are no adult male members in the family. We are suffering. I want the government to help us to find more survivors and victims,” she pleaded.

More than 3,000 Yazidi women, children and men remain missing. 

The UNAMI/OHCHR report supports the families of the victims’ call for justice. Determining the circumstances surrounding the significant loss of life will be an important step both in the mourning process for families and their journey to secure justice, the report highlights. There are broader justice dynamics, including the need to ensure a historical record of what occurred in these locations, memorialise these sites, and, where feasible, identify victims, according to the report.

By Celia Thompson
UNAMI Public Information Office





Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI
Last modified on Tuesday, 06 November 2018 15:39

Home   |  UN Agencies in Iraq   |  UNAMI   |  Procurement   |  Job Opportunities   |  Contact us

Copyright © 2019 United Nations Iraq. All Rights Reserved.