Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist Nadia Murad is calling on the world to continue fighting for the Yazidi women who are still being held captive by ISIS in Iraq.
Murad spoke about the issue on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah on Thursday, the United Nations’ World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
In 2014, Murad was one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women sold into sex slavery by the militant group ISIS as part of mass persecution and genocide. She’s since shared her experience to advocate against sexual violence around the world.
“It is our collective responsibility to end human trafficking,” Murad told Noah. “I hope everyone can help to raise awareness about these topics.”
Noah pointed out that since ISIS’ caliphate, or Islamic state, was defeated, conflict in Iraq has not receive as much media attention, making Murad’s advocacy even more critical.
Murad reminded viewers that conflict in the country persists.
“I wish it was gone when they killed Baghdadi or ISIS, but this is not the reality,” she said.
“The reality is that until today, we have 2,000 Yazidi women in children in captivity. My sister-in-law, my niece, my nephew — we have more than 85 mass graves in Sinjar right now, 60% of the Yazidi community is displaced, and our homeland is destroyed and when ISIS came not just for one or two days, ISIS left behind a community that will not recover without the support of the international community.”
Noah pulled up a clip of Murad meeting with US President Donald Trump in 2019, during which Murad asked the US to intervene and help her return home safely. Trump interrupted and said, “But ISIS is gone.” Murad explained to Noah that one of the biggest challenges she faced was that the Yazidi, a religious and ethnic minority who reside in Northern Iraq, aren’t well known to many people, even world leaders.
Even if the international community helps rehabilitate Iraq, refugees may not return because they see that Iraqis are still internally displaced in the country, Murad explained.
“Without support and safety, we cannot go back,” she said.
“I can tell you, I’m not happy to be a refugee. After spending my entire life with my family, you always want to stay in your home.”
When Noah asked Murad what drives her to continue fighting for her community, she said she doesn’t have a choice but to go on.
ISIS killed six of Murad’s brothers and left them with six widows with 21 children.
“Many Yazidi families, we’re still waiting to one day see our family members, bury them in our homeland,” she said.
Murad used all of her 2018 Nobel Peace Prize money to seek justice for her community. In 2019 she launched the Global Survivors Fund with fellow Noble Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege to provide reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
“Especially on a day like today, hopefully, we can stand together and have the right people hear the message that we have to try and fight against sex trafficking and the trafficking of women around the world no matter where or how it’s happening,” Noah said.