Girls abducted as slaves by Islamic State (Isis) fighters in Syria and Iraq are being sold "for as little as a pack of cigarettes," UN envoy Zainab Bangura said on 8 June.
The UN envoy on sexual violence visited the war-torn countries in the Middle East has been working on a plan to address the ongoing sexual violence to women, The Guardian reported. "This is a war that is being fought on the bodies of women," Bangura said.
According to The Guardian, Bangura spoke to women and girls who had escaped captivity from Isis fighters, visited refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and met with local political and religious leaders.
Isis has been known to kidnap girls and women during attacks and then sell them in barbaric slave markets. "They kidnap and abduct women when they take areas so they have — I don't want to call it a fresh supply — but they have new girls," she said.
The girls are then sold for "as little as a pack of cigarettes" or up to several thousand dollars, according to Bangura. Several reports of Isis kidnapping teenage girls, many among the Yazidi minority, have come to light.
"Some were taken, locked up in a room — over 100 of them in a small house — stripped naked and washed," the UN envoy said. The girls are then made to stand in front of men who get to decide "what you are worth".
In a May report by the Mirror, Bangura said girls were "categorised and shipped naked off to Dohuk or Mosul or other locations to be distributed among Isil [Isis] leadership and fighters."
She added that children born of rapes conducted by Isis fighters to the girls would become "a generation of stateless children" that could become a rich source of recruits.
Abduction of girls is a selling point for Isis
Bangura told The Guardian that the abduction of girls has become a selling point for Isis in the recruitment of foreign fighters. "This is how they attract young men: we have women waiting for you, virgins that you can marry," she said. "The foreign fighters are the backbone of the fighting."
A UN report cited by The Guardian claims that nearly 25,000 foreign fighters from over 100 nations are involved in conflicts worldwide, with the largest portion heading into Syria and Iraq.
The terrorist organisation has also used the systematic kidnapping, selling and raping of women to displace those living in conquered areas, humiliate them or torture them.
Bangura cited the story of a 15-year-old girl who was sold to a 50-something-year-old Isis leader who gave her the option to pick between a gun and a stick. "She said 'the gun' and he replied: 'I didn't buy you so that you could kill yourself'," before he raped her, she said.