London, Oct 10: Sex slavery and human trafficking are the sustaining force for the extremist operations of terror groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria and the Boko Haram in Nigeria, claims a report released by a leading UK-based think tank.
While the ‘sex slaves’ prove to be a key factor in luring local militants and foreign mercenaries, the trafficking of young girls addresses the financial needs of the terror outfits, says the report made public on Monday by the Henry Jackson Society.
“Propaganda on sexual slavery serves as an incentive for new recruits and foreign fighters, with the promise of wives and sex slaves acting as a ‘pull factor’,” the report quotes researcher Nikita Malik as saying.
To remove the taboo surrounding rapes and sexual slavery, the groups use twisted theological justifications to portray those acts as “permissible under the rule of God”.
“Religious elements are infused into sexual violence practices to skirt around the moral wrongdoing of rape,” Malik added.
The research paper finds sex slavery as the most luring tool for fresh recruits, whereas, sex trafficking, along with ransom and abduction are the most utilised options by the group to maintain their expenditure.
The report claims that ISIS generated at least US $30 million in 2016 through kidnappings and ransoms.
In the near future, the report adds, terror groups would resort to such criminal acts for generating funds as their erstwhile sources of income – selling fuel and taxing people under their jurisdiction – is getting squeezed as both ISIS and Boko Haram are rapidly losing grounds.
“Historical revenue streams, including taxation and oil sales, to groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram are decreasing,” Malik said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
The Boko Haram, since its inception in 2009, carried out mass abductions in the disturbed northeastern part of Nigeria. In April 2014, it kidnapped at least 200 girls from a school in Chibok, who were later used as cooks, sex slaves and suicide bombers.
UN investigators found the girls were purposefully impregnated to breed the next generation of militants.
The same modus operandi, the research notes, was seen in the Mount Sinjar region on Syrian-Iraq border, where the ISIS militants kidnapped more than 7,000 Yazidi women, and killed nearly 5,000 of the community’s men.