From ISIS Sex Slave to Nobel Peace Prize

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Nadia Murad addresses a UN conference in 2017 (Photo: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Nadia Murad addresses a U.N. conference in 2017. (Photo: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi sex slave survivor turned activist won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018. She was awarded the prize with Denis Mekwege, a Congolese doctor who has helped thousands of rape victims in his native country.

Both were recognized for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

Murad was just 19 when she abducted by ISIS jihadis when the brutal terror group swept through the Sinjar region of Iraq in the summer of 2014. Her mother and six brothers were killed by ISIS. Murad was one of more than 6,700 Yazidi women and children taken prisoner and held as sex slaves by ISIS. She was raped, beaten and burned with cigarettes. After failed escape attempts, Murad was finally successful after her captor left the house unlocked.

She was taken in by a neighboring family, which was able to smuggle her out of Islamic State-controlled area, allowing her to make her way to a refugee camp in Duhok, northern Iraq. In February 2015, she gave her first testimony to reporters of the Belgian daily newspaper La Libre Belgique while she was staying in the Rwanga camp, living in a container. In 2015, she was one of 1,000 women and children to benefit from a refugee program of the government of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, which became her new home.

Murad is the founder of Nadia’s Initiative, an organization dedicated to “helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives and communities.” She is the first Iraqi to be awarded a Nobel prize.




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