The fate of hundreds if not thousands of women who have been kidnapped by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq and reportedly forced into marriage or raped is still largely unknown, according to United Nations and human rights officials.
Most of the missing women are members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority who were captured in towns where locals were unable to flee quickly enough to Mt. Sinjar and Kurdish-controlled areas as ISIS launched its offensive in early August. The terror group is also believed to have abducted Shia Turkmen, Christians, and Shabak women.
Shortly after their capture, the UN cited reports of “barbaric” sexual violence and “savage rapes” perpetrated by ISIS.
Francesco Motta, director of the UN’s human rights office in Iraq, told VICE News that the number of women captured in and around Nineveh Province in the northeast of Iraq could be as high 2,500 — including 1,000 who were forcibly converted and possibly married off, as well as 1,500 who refused to do so and languish in captivity.
“A number of women have been told that they will be taken to Syria or other neighboring countries and sold there,” he said.
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