Nineteen-year-old Farida recalls weeping as she stood among 80 other girls in a large room as men—young and old—looked them over like chattel in Raqqa, the ISIS capital in eastern Syria, according to NBC News.
After ISIS fighters overran her village in August, she was bought as a slave by during an auction that lasted for several days, she tells the news site. But she can only tell her story because she and a 12-year-old compatriot were able to escape from their captors when they were not looking, NBC reports.
Farida’s harrowing story begins when she was bought on auction day, where men would come to the room, pay an ISIS official and leave with one or two of the girls, she tells the television news outlet. She had never seen a slave auction from the perspective of the buyers until NBC showed her a video on an iPad.
Farida stared at the video of about a dozen ISIS fighters. The militants laughed and cracked jokes about their sexual prowess, the older ones saying the younger men weren’t ready for all the fun they were about to have with their personal sex slaves.
We asked Farida: “Is this how they behaved? They were laughing and happy?”
“Yes. Exactly,” she said. “They were very happy.”
She wants justice.
She didn’t know their names — but Farida realized this wasn’t just any day at the slave auction in Raqqa. It was her day on the dock. The men were joking about buying and abusing her as well as her friends, classmates and cousins. Farida couldn’t take her eyes off the iPad.
“I see this and I don’t think of my case, I think of all the girls, because they would do everything to them,” she said. “We want justice.”
The women were reportedly selected because of their beliefs.
Farida and the other girls in the ISIS market are Yazidis, members of the small religious minority in northern Iraq that ISIS has targeted for extermination and enslavement.
Farida was captured in August when ISIS fighters took over Kuchu, a Yazidi village with a population of less than 2,000 near the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq. Kuchu was already surrounded by ISIS fighters when the U.S. started bombing last summer.
She fought against her captors and paid a heavy price.
On the night Farida was bought at auction by a Libyan man who called himself Abu Atheer, she broke a piece of glass in the bathroom and slashed her wrists. It was her first of what would be seven suicide attempts.
Bleeding and unconscious, Abu Atheer took Farida to an ISIS infirmary, where she recovered for five days. She was then locked in an ISIS prison reserved for unruly Yazidi slaves.
“There were four other girls,” she said. “It was so dark, we didn’t know if it was day or night. We were locked up and they constantly beat us.”
Kuchu, the girl’s village, is still being held by ISIS.
The atrocities come to light just days after the Obama administration proposed congressional authorization for the use of military force against ISIS. And stories of atrocities committed by the militants or their supporters continue to grow, including an ISIS-inspired attack by a man over the weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark.