The Long Road Home: Rescuing Halima
Last week, The Nazarene Fund assisted with the successfully recovery of Halima, a 22-year old Yazidi woman held by traffickers in Turkey. All rescues are a cause for celebration; however, Halima’s rescue is significant because it not only gives us hope that other missing women and children taken by ISIS are still alive, but it also exposes the extensive human trafficking network that flows from Iraq to Syria to Turkey and gives hope that other captives remain alive.
In August 2014, Halima (aged 16) was kidnapped by Islamic State fighters along with 18 members of her family when ISIS captured her village in Northern Iraq. Like many other Yazidi women and girls, she was kept as a slave for five years enduring ceaseless violence, abuse and exploitation by her captors.
In 2019, ISIS made its last territorial stand in Eastern Syria in the town of Baghuz. It was there that The Nazarene Fund identified Halima’s younger brother, Milad, and transported him back to his family. Other survivors of the battle, most of whom were ISIS fighters along with their wives and children, were moved to Al-Hol – a makeshift encampment set up for those who were displaced during the war. Among the survivors were an unknown Yazidi captives, including Halima. Yazidi women and children inside the camp are abused and threatened not to reveal their identities.
From the camp, Halima was sold to traffickers who smuggled her to Turkey. Had The Nazarene Fund not intervened, she would have been sold as a slave or killed and her organs harvested. Halima’s life was saved and soon she will be reunited with her family.
This was made possible because of people like you who dare to hope and to believe in The Nazarene Fund’s mission to “rescue, rebuild and restore the lives of persecuted people.”
The Nazarene Fund continues to search for the missing and pray for their safe return.