The news: It's not as though you really need another reason to be disgusted by the Islamic State (IS) — but here it is.
Last month, the U.N. released a statement condemning the radical terrorist group for "barbaric acts" of sexual violence and "savage rapes," alleging that as many as 1,500 Yazidi and Christian women may have been forced into sexual slavery. In a new report published Thursday, the U.N. confirmed that at least 500 women have been forcibly married to IS fighters or trafficked into sexual slavery, although the actual number could be as high as 2,500.
"Women and girls are brought with price tags for the buyers to choose and negotiate the sale. The buyers were said to be mostly youth from the local communities," the 29-page report, which was based on 500 witness interviews, found. "Apparently ISIL was 'selling' these Yazidi women to the youth as a means of inducing them to join their ranks."
This is far from the only crime that IS is committing against women. While IS may be using women as a recruitment tool, that's not all: The U.N. report found that the terrorist group has also taken a retaliatory approach toward working women, and has "attacked and killed female doctors, lawyers, among other professionals."
IS militants have already murdered one female political candidate and abducted another, and have instructed female doctors to wear different colors to distinguish their marital status — making unmarried women bigger targets.
And if you want to get even a glimpse of what these abducted girls and women have gone through, read this harrowing account by a 14-year-old Yazidi girl who escaped her IS captors:
"After so much fear for so many days, hugging my dad again was the best moment of my life. He said he had cried for me every day since I disappeared. That evening, we went to Khanke, where my mother was staying with her relatives. We hugged and kept crying until then I fainted. My month-long ordeal was over, and I felt reborn," she told the Washington Post last month.
We don't really know the extent of what's going on. As the U.N. itself admits, it's impossible to get a sense of everything that's going on in the vast territory that IS now controls. And aside from forced abductions and sexual violence against women, the terrorist group is guilty of possible "war crimes or crimes against humanity," the report said.
"These include attacks directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, executions and other targeted killings of civilians, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women and children, forced recruitment of children, destruction or desecration of places of religious or cultural significance, wanton destruction and looting of property, and denial of fundamental freedoms," the report said.
At least 9,345 people have been killed and 17,380 wounded in Iraq since the start of the year, while 1.8 million Iraqis have fled their homes.