أم بريطانية تبيع مجوهراتها بقيمة 7500 باوند استرليني، في كل مرة، وتسافر لمناطق داعش لشراء فتيات ايزيديات صغار منهم وتحررهم من “السبي الداعشي”
وكانت الطفلة شهدت قطع رأس أبيها، ورأت أمها وهي تغتصب على يد مسلحي داعش، الذين أخذوها أسيرة وواصلوا اغتصابها مرارا ولشهور قبل قتلها.
كثير من الضحايا مصابون بصدمة مما حدث. كما تقول راشيل نوتنجهام: ‘انهم حذرون من أي تلامس، ويخجلون من ذلك إلا إذا كان من الأم أو الأخ أو الأخت، لكنهم لم يترددوا في ذلك معي وهذه علامة ثقة’
وراشيل تدرك ان عملية إنقاذ واحدة عبر الحدود إلى سوريا مغامرة خطرة جدا، وهي تعلم ان ثمنها مرتفع جدا في حالة اختطافها.
وآخر عملية شراء لها هذا الصيف، دفعت 7500 £ نقدا لفتاة عمرها 13 عاما، وقد باعت مجوهرات زفاقها، مع أخذ قرض من البنك، دون ابلاغ زوجها الكردي.
وقالت ‘هناك بعض الأشياء لا أقولها له إلا بعد تنفيذها!
واضافت راشيل، ولديها ابنان مصابان بالتوحد، وتتراوح أعمارهم بين سبعة وثمانية، وابنة بعمر 19 عاما ‘انه فخور بما أفعل لكنه قلق لسلامتي وويقول انني في بعض الأحيان أقوم بأشياء دون تفكير’،
Rachel’s family links in southern Turkey, have given her rare access to a network of intelligence and helpers.
Just this month she flew out and paid £4,500 to have a traumatised child brought over from Syria.
She said: “All we knew was that it was a child under 10 years old. There were obvious signs she had been recently raped.”
Rachel uses the same Kurdish broker, who gets in touch when a girl comes available.
She said: “Sometimes things get difficult and I think ‘what if something happens to me?
“I am playing with my children’s future? But then I think ‘this could be my children’.”
Once Rachel went deeper than she intended as she crossed the border from Turkey into Syria, without realising.
She was driven in the dark and forced to walk for miles to what even the smugglers said was a “very bad place” .
It was a clearing in a field where those waiting to be sold had nothing but a small fire.
Rachel said: “I’m pretty sure we were in Syria. I wouldn’t have gone there if I’d known. Foreigners are worth £114,000 to IS.”
Rachel stayed all night with a woman who had been subjected to abuse too sickening to detail.
But the smugglers wouldn’t let Rachel take her away even though she was death’s door. The woman’s family could only pay part of her “release fee”.
She said: “I lay down and stayed with her all night. Back where I was staying, they were ringing all sorts of people in panic because I didn’t come back.”
When she finally returned, Rachel went straight to her network of donors, raising £2,400 overnight to set the woman free. Some pawned jewellery while others raided their personal bank accounts.
All nine former captives she has saved have been settled back with their relatives or host families in the region.
Around 3,800 Yazidis are still believed to be in IS captivity – including 1,935 women. Their families have been desperately trying to rescue them.
They hear reports that those refusing sex with fighters have been publicly burned to death in cages in the Iraq town of Mosul. And more, of children being snatched from parents.
But it’s not simply a matter of handing over cash. Ransoming girls to outsiders is banned by IS, under penalty of death.
Rachel said: “The foot soldiers decide to sell their girls because they have had enough of fighting and they need cash to run.
“The man who receives the cash I raise isn’t IS, he buys and sells girls as a business. He’s a means to an end.”
Salah Ahmad, a psychotherapist who supports Yazidi survivors of abuse admitted there were concerns that “even a dollar of these payments reaching IS is one dollar too much”.
But he added: “We are talking about human beings. We need to do everything in our hands to save innocent lives.”
Some families don’t have the money, or the girls being sold have no family left – so Rachel steps in.
This was the case, Rachel believed, with the six-year-old girl.
It was thought that her whole family was dead but more than a year later Rachel got word through a contact that the girl’s 13-year-old sister had been found.
She said: “The girl was a sex slave. I talked to the woman on WhatsApp from Nottingham, where I’m just a mum doing the school run.”
Rachel scrambled £7,000 together and freed the sister earlier this year. “When the sisters met they just clung to each other,” she said.
“I mean really held on to each other as if life depended on it.”
Rachel added: “I haven’t told any of the girls that I have helped them to freedom, I just want to be Rachel, someone who cares. Many just think I am this slightly crazy lady who just wants to help.
“I don’t want them to feel at all that they should be indebted to me.”
Rachel’s efforts began when she set out to raise £500 on website Gofundme to help desperate refugees on the Greek island of Kos last year.
Her campaign snowballed and she has now raised more than £47,000 via the site in the last year.
That money has already paid for food, water, clothes and other essentials for refugees living in camps in Turkey, Greece and France.
She recently registered her own charity, called Mesopotamia, and is renting a former bank to run as a charity shop in Nottingham.
Vowing to continue her work for refugees and the Yazidi abused, she said:
“It’s not going to end. It’s going to be years before all these girls are free.
“They are someone’s daughter, sister, mother… if it was my child I would want someone to step up and help.”
By Ben Rossington, Paula Dear
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