The nightmarish ordeal of a Yazidi girl kidnapped by ISIS terrorists in 2014 when she was 8 years old and repeatedly sold between families as a slave has ended after she managed to contact a family member on social media from a refugee camp.
Rosita Haji Baju, now 16, had been terrified that if she revealed her past, she would suffer further abuse and instead sought help on social media, desperately hoping to find a relative she could alert to her ordeal.
Her nightmare began in August 2014 when ISIS invaded Shengal (Sinjar), Iraq, from nearby Mosul and the Iraqi army had fled. Men in her community were killed, and thousands of women and children were kidnapped, including Rosita who was just 8 at the time.
She ended up with her mother at Raqa in Syria where they were sold to an Algerian she named as Abu Islam. She said that her mother was raped by his brother and committed suicide shortly after.
Rosita herself was then repeatedly sold between different families as a slave and in March 2019, when ISIS was toppled in Baghouz, Syria, she ended up in a refugee camp with ISIS families. She was 13 at the time.
“Many times I wanted to tell the camp manager that I was a Yazidi girl but I was afraid that our society would not accept me,” Rosita said.
She said she had also been threatened by extremists not to tell her story or reveal who she was.
Hussein Kuru, head of the Yazidi Abductees Affairs’ Bureau in Duhok, Iraq, told Shafaq News Agency that Rosita will arrive in the Kurdistan region soon.
“Operations to locate the abductees are underway in al-Hol camp and other territories inside Syria,” he said. “The federal government did not contribute to the release of the abductees. We asked for help many times but Baghdad has not made any step so far.”
He concluded by saying that “More than 3,500 Yazidi children and women, from a total of 6,400, have been released so far.”
ISIS subjected the Yazidis of Sinjar (Shengal) to a campaign of genocide beginning in August 2014. Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced, most of whom fled to the Kurdistan region.
Many were subjected to atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the extremist group for years. ISIS forced women and girls into sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women and girls across the areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.
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