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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
  • 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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Facebook Again in Controversy For Search Function Suggesting Friends’ Bikini-clad Photos

Twitter users also noted how Facebook’s search bar automatically suggested photographs of female friends in bikini

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Facebook has again courted controversy with a search function that allows users to scout for photographs of female, but not male friends, the media reported.

The feature was spotted by Belgian security researcher Inti De Ceukelaire, whose findings led to revelations that Facebook prompts users to search for photographs of female friends in bikini, The Independent said on Friday.

The tech giant originally called it a ‘bug’, only to issue a clarification later to explain that it is not a glitch but simply how the search feature works. A Facebook spokesperson said it is working to fix the issue.

“Facebook has modified its creepy hidden search feature this weekend,” Ceukelaire tweeted earlier this week.

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

“You can no longer retrieve hidden photographs of your male friends. Women can/may still be stalked. Even more, when you request photographs from your male friends, Facebook assumes you wanted to see pictures of women,” Ceukelaire added.

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His tweets prompted responses that Facebook is “sexist” due to the way its internal search feature functions.

Twitter users also noted how Facebook’s search bar automatically suggested photographs of female friends in bikini. (IANS)