At Sharya camp, near Duhok in northern Iraq, Yazidi survivors plot the return of as many as 3,000 loved ones who are still held captive and seek answers on the fate of nearly 7,000 others who are missing. Among the survivors here is Layla Taalo, a young mother of two who has lived in Sharya since 2017, when she was recovered from Raqqa, Syria, where she was enslaved by ISIS.
On Aug. 3, 2014, she and her husband and their children were captured along with most of Layla’s extended family as they tried to escape to the Sinjar mountains. She does not know what happened to her husband, but she was sold into slavery with her children. Over the course of nearly three years, Layla was traded nine times among ISIS fighters and their supporters before her brother was able to ransom her and her children. Now Layla and the other survivors in her family, including two nieces who had also been traded as slaves, live together in this tent compound.