WASHINGTON, United States (Kurdistan24) – A United Nations representative said Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region rescue women and girls taken as sex slaves by the Islamic State (IS).
A conference titled “ISIS and Sex Slavery: Moving from Condemnation to Action,” organized by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the McCain Institute for International Leadership, highlighted sex slavery as a tactic of war and terrorism.
Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said Kurdish forces continue to bring victims of sex slavery to safety.
“I met the Ezidis. I visited their community…I went to Erbil, to Duhok, and to Lalish and actually documented some of the atrocities,” Bangura told Kurdistan24.
“I think in all my years of working [on] this issue, what I saw in Iraq I’ve never seen in my entire life. It’s one of the most depressing periods,” she continued.
Bangura said she had spoken to girls kidnapped by IS who shared their “horrifying” stories about their experiences.
“Some of the cities and the towns that [Peshmerga] are taking over, they are actually identifying the girls and helping them to escape [from IS],” the UN representative revealed.
“With the Peshmerga, they actually help [the victims] to cross over to safety,” she added.
Moreover, Mark Lagon, a Senior Program Officer for Middle East Programs at the USIP, spoke to Kurdistan24 about the Kurdish authorities’ role in helping victims of IS sex slavery.
“I think it’s very important to work with the Kurdish people and authorities to try and assist those who’ve been victimized,” he stated.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Kurdistan24 team in Washington, DC conducted the interviews)