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Reports: IS Trafficking in Yazidi Slaves Via Social Media

The Associated Press is reporting that IS is advertising via encrypted messages the "sale" of Yazidi women, an ethnic group indigenous to Iraq that has been targeted by IS.

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IS trafficking in Yazidi. Image Sources: www.abc.net.au
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  • IS advertises via encrypted messages the “sale” of Yazidi women, an ethnic group indigenous to Iraq 
  • The slaves are said to be held against their will and often subjected to rape as well as forced labour
  • IS kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children in August 2014 when it attacked their homes and villages in northwestern Iraq near the border with Syria

Members of the Islamic State group have started advertising women and children for sale on social networking applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram, says reports.

IS trafficking women and children. Image Sources: www.bbc.com
IS trafficking women and children. Image Sources: www.bbc.com

The Associated Press is reporting that IS is advertising via encrypted messages the “sale” of Yazidi women, an ethnic group indigenous to Iraq that has been targeted by IS.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, John Kirby, told AP the United States continues “to be appalled by credible reports that Daesh [Islamic State] is trafficking in human beings, and sex slavery in particular.”

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“This depravity,” he said, “not only speaks to the degree to which Daesh cheapens life and repudiates the Islamic faith, it also strengthens our resolve to defeat them.”

Islamic State kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children in August 2014 when it attacked their homes and villages in northwestern Iraq near the border with Syria. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured some of that territory, but many children have been orphaned and many young women are believed to have been taken into slavery.

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The slaves are said to be held against their will and often subjected to rape as well as forced labor. While some women have escaped, they say the slaves are closely tracked and are often recovered, only to face punishment.

One escapee, Nadia Mourad, has spoken to U.S. and European lawmakers about getting more help for the Yazidis.

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“They are being used as human shields,” she told the European Parliament. “They are not allowed to escape or flee. Probably they will be assassinated. Where is the world in all this? Where is humanity?”

Telegram messenger. Image Source: www.independent.co.uk
Telegram messenger. Image Source: www.independent.co.uk

A representative for Telegram, a messaging app, said the company regularly removes public channels used by Islamic State and is committed to preventing abuse of the service. (VOA)

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WhatsApp Backups Won’t be Taking Your Space on Google Drive Anymore

Backing up your chats and media to Google Drive is helpful because when you change Android phones or get a new one, your chats and media remain transferable

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Whatsapp Google Drive
Soon, WhatsApp backups won't eat into your Google Drive space.

Google is making life easy for WhatsApp users as starting this November, 1.5 billion users of this popular instant messaging platform will be able to back up their data on Google Drive without worrying about storage space.

“Starting November 12, 2018, WhatsApp backups will no longer count towards the Google Drive storage quota,” WhatsApp said in an update on its FAQ page.

Until now, WhatsApp backup data counted towards the space one had on Google Drive.

According to a report in The Verge on Thursday, unlike other texting apps that store messages on their servers, Facebook-owned WhatsApp requires users to back up their messages to another company’s Cloud service to sync chats between phones.

Apple users have their messages stored in iCloud, while Android users have always used Google Drive, it added.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

WhatsApp also warned that with the November update, backups that have not been updated in more than one year will be automatically removed from Google Drive storage.

“To avoid the loss of any backups, we recommend you manually back up your WhatsApp data before November 12, 2018,” WhatsApp said.

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Backing up your chats and media to Google Drive is helpful because when you change Android phones or get a new one, your chats and media remain transferable.

“We recommend connecting your phone to Wi-Fi prior to backing up your chats via Google Drive, as backup files can vary in size and consume mobile data, causing additional charges,” WhatsApp said. (IANS)