Life as a slave under ISIS: “I was forced to help make suicide vests”

Newstalk's Shona Murray spoke to a young Yazidi woman about her ordeal

Life as a slave under ISIS: “I was forced to help make suicide vests”

Lamya was abducted from Kocho Village in Iraq along with her three sisters | Newstalk

Nearly two years have now passed since the so-called Islamic State swept into the Sinjar province of northern Iraq, killing and enslaving thousands of Yazidi people.

Many of the girls and young women captured by militants there in August 2014 saw themselves forced into sex slavery in ISIS-held areas, where they were raped and passed between fighters. 

In the last 20 months, some have managed to flee with the help of a network of groups, led by the Kurds as well as members of the Yazidi community.

Newstalk’s Shona Murray told today's Pat Kenny Show about the story of one recent escapee, 19-year-old Lamya, who was kidnapped along with her three sisters when ISIS overran her village.

Lamya said she and other young women in the area were bussed to Raqqa in Syria, where she spent around a month before being sold on again.

The man who kept her there, Abu Ramii, made her work for his family and regularly raped her. “When I refused, he would pull my hair and [beat me] with a rubber pipe or with cables,” she said.



Lamya was then brought back to Mosul in Iraq and given to another Daesh militant, called Abu Mansour. He worked with military artillery and made suicide vests, a dangerous job she was forced to help with.

She was later sold to Doctor Islam, a surgeon from near Tikrit in Iraq, who told her that Islamic doctrine allowed him to keep girls as sex slaves. “He said this is OK … because [we] are war prisoners,” she recalled.

There were harsh repercussions for those who tried to flee. Lamya herself was severely beaten on one occasion after an escape plan was foiled.

She was eventually freed from captivity after getting through to an uncle who sent a smuggler to rescue her.

They walked for 12 hours and had almost reached the Peshmerga frontline when her friend was killed after stepping on an IED. Lamya lost her eye in the incident and was badly scarred.

While she hopes to be able to travel to Germany for treatment, the young woman remains traumatised by her experience.

Shona Murray spoke to Lamya in Iraq just a few weeks after her escape. Listen to the full report on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show here: