Islamic StateSex Crimes Through the Eyes of Moroccan Survivor

Rabat – Pedophilia, sex slavery, rape, dangerous sexual practices: one Moroccan returnee shares her frightening experience living among Daesh fighters. Salma El-Harraq, a Moroccan woman who returned from Daesh, has recently opened up to the National Criminal Police Brigade about her alarming sexual trauma at the hands of members of the Islamic State, as reported in the March 28 edition of Moroccan newspaper Al Ahdath.Perceived as mere sexual objects for the fighters’ to exploit, women are among the first to feel the terrorist organization’s wrath. The returnee recounted the sufferings of Yazidi women, belong to a Kurdish religious minority, who were taken as spoils of war. These women, among others, were displayed in a market in Hassiba commune on the Iraqi-Syrian borders, and sold them like cattle based on tariffs set by the leader of the terrorist organization. The prices varied between minors and older girls, as the terrorist militants also have the right to “keep” girls as young as seven years old, on the condition that they will perform sexual acts when they reach the age of 12.Prisoners of war were forced to perform housework and errands, in addition to being sexually enslaved by the fighter who is given the right to violate them under the blessing of a fatwa issued by Daesh’s religious theorists. Daesh’s sex victims, according to El Harraq, were also prostituted by the combatants, in exchange for a road pass, internet connection, or food. Those sentenced to death and awaiting execution were not exempted from sexual assault, neither were those whose previous fighter partners passed away or were traveling outside of the camp.Al Ahdath noted that high prevalence of unprotected sex  might mean that a large number of the combatants and their wives, sex slaves, and children are infected with sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.A 2017 United Nations report urged the Iraqi government to extend help to women victims, Yazidi and other minorities, of Daesh sexual slavery. “The physical, mental and emotional injuries inflicted by ISIL are almost beyond comprehension,” stressed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad.

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