ISIS and Human Trafficking

ISIS is one of the richest terrorist organizations in the world. They’ve gained their wealth from theft, extortion schemes, kidnapping and ransoming, and from seizing oil fields (their most lucrative venture, gaining them anywhere from $1-3 million). Mainstream media focuses on their kidnapping of Western journalists and their seizures of oil field, but I want to bring your attention to human trafficking. ISIS’s agenda extends to the control of women’s bodies. There are records of ISIS supporting the assault and enslavement of non-Muslim women . The UN reports that ISIS has committed countless acts of sexual violence against the women, girls and boys of various minority groups they deem inferior.

One of the minority groups targeted by ISIS is called the Yazidis, a Krudish ethno-religious group primarily located in the Nineveh Province of Iraqi Kurdistan. ISIS is targeting groups like the Yazidis and others like them in their campaign to “purify” Iraq. ISIS, because they believe the Yazidis are “pagans” for worshipping differently, has been assaulting women and girls, forcing them into marriage and sometimes slavery, forcing captives to convert to Islam, and kidnapping boys for religious or military training. ISIS boasts and defends their actions in their propaganda magazine by saying enslaving infidels and taking women as concubines is part of Shariah .

While I bring attention to and condemn ISIS’s actions, I recognize that people all over the world of various religious and ethnic backgrounds have engaged in human trafficking. ISIS is targeting minority groups such as the Yazidis because they have been persecuted historically and are a vulnerable population. I read about these stories in the news about atrocities happening in far off places by terrible people, but I know these atrocities are not isolated to the far off nor are they only committed by people who are obviously bad. Human trafficking occurs all over the world, in communities like my own as well as in far off regions of Iraq and Syria, and traffickers can be anyone, the people in my community as well as terrorists organizations like ISIS.

Author: Bhumika Patel
October 10th, 2014


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