Life under ISIS

Sex slaves held by Islamic State forced to take contraception

(Lynsey Addario/The New York Times)

A 16-year-old former hostage of the Islamic State says she was held as a sex slave and forced to take birth control by her captors to ensure they were not breaking an ancient Islamic law that a man must ensure a slave is not pregnant before having sex with her. The disturbing tale comes as the Islamic State is thought to imprison thousands of women in sex slavery and forced marriages. More than 30 of those women who recently escaped ISIS spoke with The New York Times about their experiences, and described the many forms of contraception, including oral and injectable, that were used by ISIS fighters to prevent the women from getting pregnant. According to one United Nations clinic, just five percent of more than 700 Yazidi women who have been treated for rape by ISIS have been pregnant.

The women also said that they would be taken to hospitals for pregnancy tests before they were sold from one ISIS fighter to another. The teenage girl who spoke of being force-fed pills in front of her captors said she was sold seven times, and was quizzed by prospective buyers about her menstrual cycle.

“Every day, I had to swallow one in front of him. He gave me one box per month,” the girl said. “When I was sold from one man to another, the box of pills came with me.”

Read the full story in The New York Times.

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