“And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16)
A video has been publicized, seemingly portraying Islamic State (ISIS) fighters buying and selling young Yazidi girls in a sex slave market. The disturbing footage was initially posted at the beginning of the month on YouTube by Arabic satellite channel al-Alam TV, accompanied by English subtitles.
In the clip, which has since been taken down, armed Arab men are gathered, sitting under an ISIS flag. As one man explains in Arabic to the camera, “Today is the slave market day. Today is the day where this verse applies: ‘Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess, – for (then) they are not too be blamed’.”
According to al-Alam TV, the footage was shot somewhere in Mosul, a large city in Iraq which fell to ISIS in June. Although the authenticity of the video has not been confirmed, IS admitted last month to selling Yazidi slaves in an article in the group’s Dabiq magazine.
The UK Daily Mail published a price list for the going rate of slaves in the IS market. The prices range according to age, with 40 to 50-year-olds going for only 50,000 dinars (about $43 US), while children under nine fetch 200,000 dinars (about $175).
In the video, the men also consider eye color – blue and green eyes are preferred – and whether a girl has her own teeth. “If she is 15 years old, I have to check her…Check her teeth,” one man says.
In the video, the men barter for the girls, settling on prices between $100 and $300 US. Two men offer to trade slaves for pistols instead.
In August, ISIS terrorists overran the northern Iraqi territory of Sinjar, taking hundreds of Yazidi women and children captive. Hundreds more were killed in the attack, while tens of thousands were trapped on a mountaintop, unable to escape. Eventually, most of the stranded Yazidis reached safety in Kurdish territory.
ISIS maintains that the Yazidi religion is apostasy and devil-worship. It is a blend of Zoroastrianism and Sufi Islam. The extremist Sunnis of IS consider it their religious right under Sharia law to keep them as slaves and sell them or give them away as they see fit.