Fighters of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) seized a jihadi’s phone after he was killed fighting in the Iraqi town of Al-Shirqat. On it they found a picture of a young woman, believed to be a Yazidi, kneeling on the floor in front of a crowd of men.
Using location tracking data from the phone the militia identified the event as a slave auction in Saudi Arabia.
“Our investigation officer was appalled at the set of images involving what we believe to be an Iraqi Yazidi woman taken as a sex slave,” a spokesperson from the PMU told the Sun Online.
The Yazidis are an Iraqi ethnic group with their own religion, who have been persecuted by the Islamic State who regard them as devil worshippers. Many Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped in 2014 and taken into sex-slavery.
There were "images were of the auction in Saudi Arabia of the woman and sexually explicit materials of the fighter and the woman in a hotel. Location data was observed on the image file as enabled by default on many smart phones,” he added.
"Further images involved ISIS members in Iraqi-areas occupied by ISIS including Mosul and Baiji, which indicates this fighter has been with ISIS for a long period of time as Baiji was liberated by us months ago," he said.
The unit has announced it will attempt to find and rescue the woman in the photo.
‘"We are engaging with our Yazidi members to find the family of the woman, location and health status," the spokesman added. “We hope to liberate her and all Iraqi women taken as sexual slaves by ISIS within Iraq or outside of Iraq as their basic human rights are being denied.”
This is not the first time revelations about the brutal sex trade have surfaced. In 2015, a Yazidi woman named Jinan escaped ISIS slavery and wrote a book chronicling her three months in captivity.
She spoke of slave markets taking place in large halls, where the women were displayed like “livestock” for the inspection of male buyers from Iraq and Syria but also Westerners and Saudi and Gulf Arabs.
She reports an owner as saying “a man cannot buy more than three women unless he is from Syria, Turkey or the Gulf.” Another man reportedly responded, "It's good for business… A Saudi buyer has transport and food costs that a member of the Islamic State does not. He has a higher quota to make his purchases profitable.It is a good deal. the Islamic State increases its profits to support the mujahideen and our foreign brothers are satisfied."
Jinan also said she was tortured and abused, including being forced to drink mice infested water and chained up outside in the hot sun.
She said: "These men are not human. They only think of death. They take drugs constantly. They seek vengeance against everyone. They say that one day Islamic State will rule over the whole world."