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Women and girls were raped, forced into sexual slavery and driven to suicide by ISIS militants rampaging through northern Iraq, according to shocking personal testimonies published Tuesday in a report by Amnesty International. ISIS militants abducted “hundreds, possibly thousands” of men and women from the Yezidi minority group who were fleeing the takeover of the Sinjar region in August, the “Escape from Hell” report said.

“Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry [ISIS] fighters and supporters,” according to the report, which was based on interviews with 42 women and girls who had escaped the militants. Some of the women were sold for as little as $25 dollars, Amnesty said.

One 19-year-old girl from Sinjar killed herself while in captivity in Mosul, an escaped captive named Luna told Amnesty. “Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She was very beautiful. I think she knew that she was going to be taken away by a man and that is why she killed herself,” 20-year-old Luna said. Another girl, Arwa, 15, told how 62 of her relatives were still in ISIS hands. “I was raped,” she told Amnesty. “My cousin was not molested; they wanted to take her to marry her to a man but in the end they left her with us and then we managed to escape.” Amnesty said the majority of those abducted remain in captivity and said the kidnapping and forced marriage by ISIS fighters constitutes a war crime.



— Alastair Jamieson