An Iraqi woman who was sold and held captive as a sex slave for ISIS jihadists thought her misery had come to an end after she managed to escape to Germany. But the sweet taste of freedom was short-lived when Ashwaq, a Yazidi from Sinjar in northwestern Iraq, came across her former captor while strolling the streets of Schwaebisch Gmuend.
Ashwaq was one of thousands of Yazidi women held captive and traded as sex slaves by ISIS during the terror group’s occupation of SInjar, France 24 reported. The teenager was held from August 3 until October 22 of 2014, when she successfully escaped the home of an ISIS militant who went by the name Abu Humam. He had purchased her as his sex slave for $100, she told AFP.
Ashwaq, along with her mother and younger brother, relocated to Germany in 2015 with the help of a government program for Iraqi refugees. But just as her new life was beginning, the young woman was confronted by her past while shopping at a German supermarket.
A young Yazidi woman who fled to Germany but returned home to northern Iraq says she cannot escape her Islamic State group captor who held her as a sex slave for three months https://t.co/ZFIm6unnED
— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 17, 2018
“He told me he was Abu Humam. I told him I didn’t know him, and then he started talking to me in Arabic,” she said of the February 21 encounter.
“He told me: ‘Don’t lie, I know very well that you’re Ashwaq’,” she recalled.
The man proceeded to reveal her home address and other personal details regarding her life in the small German town.
When the two parted ways, Ashwaq called the police, who referred her to a specialized division. An inquiry was opened on March 13, just a few weeks later, but Ashwaq was no where to be found, judicial police in the Baden-Wuerttemberg region of southwestern Germany said.
Unfortunately, the identity of the man Ashwaq suspected to be her former captor could not be confirmed “with certainty,” a spokesman for the German federal prosecutor’s office told AFP.
Ashwaq has since returned to Iraq, where Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking religious minority, still face persecution from Islamic jihadists.
Though she was able to review surveillance videos from the supermarket with local police in Germany, she was unwilling to return to the country for fear that she might encounter her former captor again.
Sadly, some fear remains, as Abu Humam has family in Baghdad. Ashwaq’s mother and brother moved back to northern Iraq with her, but five of her brothers and her sister are still missing after being captured by ISIS.
Ashwaq’s father, 53-year-old Haji Hamid, is currently living at a camp for displaced Yazidis in nearby Iraqi Kurdistan. Speaking to AFP, he noted that even though the government officially claimed victory over ISIS at the end of last year, much uncertainty remains for people like him.
“When [Ashwaq’s] mother told me that she’d seen that jihadist… I told them to come back because Germany was obviously no longer a safe place for them,” he said.
For the 3,315 Yazidis who escaped from ISIS jihadists, and thousands of others who are still missing, peace remains a distant dream.
“All the survivors have volcanos inside them, ready to explode,” Sara Samouqi, a psychologist who works with Yazidis in Iraq, told AFP. “Ashwaq and her family are going through terrible times.”
Germany officials confirmed that they have opened several investigations relating to terrorism charges or crimes against humanity involving asylum seekers connected to jihadists in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
(H/T: France 24)