Middle East

Ex-IS slave threatened by her captor in Germany seeking refuge in Australia

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A Yazidi teenager, who fled to Germany after she was enslaved by IS, has returned to Iraq after coming face-to-face with her captor on the street.

A few months ago, outside a supermarket in Germany, Yazidi teenager Ashwaq was confronted by the man who sold her as a sex-slave to IS. 

He called out her name and when she tried to ignore him, he approached her warning he knew where she lived.

"He asked me if I was Ashwaq... and I said, no, I don't know you," she said.

The Yazidi camp where Ashwaq has reportedly returned to live.
The Yazidi camp where Ashwaq has reportedly returned to live.
SBS News

"He then said, 'Yes, you know me, and I know you.'"

Ashwaq was 14, when she, along with thousands of other Yazidi women in northern Iraq,  were enslaved by IS fighters in 2014. 

After being raped and beaten for three months, she managed to escape to Germany with her mother and brother, and the family sought to rebuild their lives. 

But the trauma of coming face-to-face with her abuser on the street was so severe, Ashwaq fled back to her war-torn homeland. 

"I was so scared, and I knew that's him. I was so scared, I could barely talk," she explains.

"I thought it's over for me."  

New life in Australia

Ashwaq is back in northern Iraq, where she has been reunited with four of her sisters, who were also enslaved by IS.

They have since been rescued but still, live in fear. 

The family are now hoping to start a new life in Australia.

Ashwaq recalls the moment she came face-to-face with her IS captor.
Ashwaq recalls the moment she came face-to-face with her IS captor.
SBS News

Yazda, a global organisation dedicated to the plight of Yazidis, said they have applied to resettle in Australia and their case is being processed. 

Murad Ismael, the Executive Director of Yazda told SBS News the family were in Yazda's Iraq office a few weeks ago, applying for visas.

Australia has a dedicated humanitarian program for women abducted by IS.

Around 1,300 visas were granted to Yazidi's as part of the 2017-18 Humanitarian Program. 

Earlier this year, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told SBS News that Australia was working to assist resettled Yazidis deal with their trauma.

"Many Yazidi victims look to the Australian program with hope," said Mr Ismael.

"Those who have been already resettled have received great support in their host communities. They are recovering from everything they endured," he said.  

The Department of Immigration has not confirmed whether Ashwaq's family's application has been received, telling SBS News it does not comment on individual cases.

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