Senior UN official, Zainab Bangura, claims Islamic State in Iraq as well as the Levant (ISIS) has such a trade in slaves that it is printing a pamphlet price list for women and children in capture. This ‘for-sale’ pamphlet has been in circulation for weeks now, enhancing the group’s growing appeal to both Jihadi fighters and wealthy sex traffickers.
Bangura, while visiting Iraq in late spring, said she was handed a reprint of an Islamic State supported pamphlet which incorporated the price list of women and children. The pamphlet was printed proof of a robust slave trading system, including children as infantile as one years old warranting the highest price.
“One girl can be sold and bought by five or six different men,” she said last week in an interview in New York. “The girls get peddled like barrels of petrol.” What matters in terms of price for ISIS fighters is age and sex of persons being bought and sold. Bangura reported prices in Dinars, Iraq’s national currency, for boys as well as girls ranging from ages 1 to 9 equivalent to roughly $165, whereas prices for teen girls are $124 and range even less less for women over the age of 20.
Rich ‘outsiders’ feed the slave business financially after the militia’s top men get first pick at those for ‘sale’, Bangura said. Slaves who remain are then offered to the ISIS fighters in a human bartering system for the pamphlets listed prices.
ISIS range of influence spans roughly 80,000 square miles of Iraq and Syria. With a combination of a traditional military and a well-oiled organized state, former Sierra Leone foreign prime minister Bangura, warns of ISIS ‘uniqueness’ from other insurgent groups.
“It’s not an ordinary rebel group,” Bangura said. “When you dismiss them as such, then you are using the tools you are used to. This is different.”
The truth is, the Islamic State has broken all the known rules officials and scholars find to be true for insurgents. Professor at James Madison University, Kerry Crawford said that by making public the violations committed, the press is actually working to the group’s advantage.
Sexual abuse in conflict proves to have a long history, noted Crawford. From the ‘rape camps’ in 1990’s in previously known Yugoslavia, sexual violence is just another avenue for fear as well as a bond shared amongst insurgents.
With the driving force of the Islamic State’s conquest being ‘God’s work’, religious communities outside of Sunni Muslims are targeted and continuously enslaved. This global recruiting has shocked international communities and even the UN because of the distinct and unfathomable practices in comparison to smaller community militias from other nations.
Claiming the sale of women as ‘marriages’ in print, Bangura argues it's much more than that. “They have a machinery, they have a program,” she said. “They have a manual on how you treat these women. They have a price list.”