Skip to navigationSkip to content

Document: ISIL’s rules for how and when to rape enslaved women

Reuters/Ari Jala
The document calls slavery an “inevitable consequence.”
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Terror group ISIL has codified the rape of hostages with detailed rules and regulations, according to documents found by US Special Operation Forces in Syria in May, recently released to Reuters.

One document dated Jan. 29 discusses “treatment of the female slaves” (pdf, p.1), and appears to have been issued by ISIL’s “Committee of Research and Fatwas.”

Sex slaves have been held and sold by ISIL since the early days of its declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and the document calls slavery an ”inevitable consequence” of the group’s conquest of the region. Once captured, “women and children of infidels” should be bought, sold and treated according to specific rules, it says. Rape is sanctioned, but prepubescent girls, menstruating women and freed slaves are off-limits. So is raping two sisters, sexually sharing a slave within a family, or with a co-owner. As with other kinds of religious extremism, abortion is forbidden.

According to the document, these rules were issued in an effort to curb “violations” of Sharia law in the treatment of captives.

The full text of the document, translated by the US government, is online in English.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.