Case Study

RITA HABIB – Daesh (ISIS) captive returns home to Qaraqosh, Iraq

April 2018

Rita Habib – Image: Kurdistan 24

Rita Habib – one of the Christian women abducted from Qaraqosh by Daesh (ISIS) and forced into sex slavery – was finally reunited with her father. Ms Habib was transferred from Qaraqosh – the last Christian-majority town in Iraq before falling to the Islamists – to Mosul, before being moved to Syria some months later. She described the misery she faced: “I was bought and sold four times. They did evil things to us. They beat us and raped us… The worst of all was girls aged nine who were raped.” She was rescued by members of the Shlama Foundation who posed as jihadis at a Daesh slave auction and bought her for $20,000. She said: “I am very happy that after three years I reunited with my father. It is a joyous moment because he is the only family I have left”. Only seven of the women abducted from Qaraqosh have returned – the estimated numbers of those seized when the town fell range from 45 to 100s.

Sources: Karzan Sulaivany, “Christian woman kidnapped by IS reunited with father after four years”, Kurdistan 24, 5th April 2018,; Louise Callaghan, “Iraq’s Christians welcome home the women stolen by Isis”, The Sunday Times, 15th July 2018, (all sites accessed 25th July 2019).

Image: Saints Sarkis and Bakhos Syriac Orthodox Church in Qaraqosh after it was attacked by Daesh (ISIS)

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