Islamic State Circulates Sex Slave Price List
Originally published on Bloomberg
August 3, 2015
NEW YORK — A senior United Nations official says the Islamic State is circulating a slave price list for captured women and children, and that the group’s ongoing appeal and barbarity pose an unprecedented challenge.
The official, Zainab Bangura, said that on an April trip to Iraq she was given a copy of an Islamic State pamphlet that included the list, showing that captured children as young as 1 fetch the highest price. Bidders include the group’s fighters and wealthy Middle Easterners.
The list, showing the group’s view of the value of those it captures, surfaced some eight months ago, though its authenticity came under question. Bangura, the UN special envoy on sexual violence in conflict who was also in Jordan and Turkey, said she has verified that the document came from Islamic State.
”The girls get peddled like barrels of petrol,” she said in an interview last week. “One girl can be sold and bought by five or six different men. Sometimes these fighters sell the girls back to their families for thousands of dollars of ransom.”
For Islamic State fighters, the prices in Iraqi dinars for boys and girls ages 1 to 9 are equal to about $165, Bangura said. Prices for adolescent girls are $124.
The militia’s leaders take those they wish first, then rich outsiders from the region are permitted to bid thousands of dollars, Bangura said. Those remaining are then offered to the group’s fighters for the listed prices.
Bangura, a Muslim and former foreign minister of Sierra Leone, said that the Islamic State is unlike other insurgent groups and challenges all known models of fighting them.
“It’s not an ordinary rebel group,” she said. “When you dismiss them as such, then you are using the tools you are used to. This is different. They have the combination of a conventional military and a well-run organized state.”
Officials and scholars have struggled to understand the Islamic State’s success despite breaking what are widely seen as rules for insurgents: to mingle with local populations, not take on established militaries, or try to hold territory. The group has broken all those rules and draws thousands of foreign fighters despite its well-publicized savagery.
Kerry Crawford, who teaches at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., said that publicizing the violations is used to the group’s advantage by building internal ties and external fear.
”If you and your group are doing something that is considered taboo, your doing it together forms a bond,” she said.