The atrocities currently being perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria are of a scale and savagery that has both shocked and outraged the international community. However, while the headlines are being grabbed by attempted genocide, decapitations, crucifixions and the increasing threat to security across the region, there is another horrific story that is unfolding in the wake of the IS advance.
Last weekend Sky News reported the following:
Hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority have been taken captive by Islamist militants, Iraq's government has said.
Kamil Amin, a spokesman for the country's human rights ministry, said the women were kidnapped by Islamic State (IS) fighters.
He added that some of the women are being held in schools in Iraq's second city Mosul, and that the ministry learned of the kidnappings from the victims' families.
"We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them," Mr Amin said.
"We think that these women are going to be used in demeaning ways by those terrorists to satisfy their animalistic urges in a way that contradicts all the human and Islamic values."
A further article in the Guardian on Monday this led with the headline "Yazidis tormented by fears for women and girls kidnapped by Isis jihadis." This is how it began:
For the past week, Khandhar Kaliph's hands have trembled whenever his phone has rung.
He nervously greeted his daughter, who had been kidnapped when the Islamic State (Isis) overran the Yazidi city of Sinjar. There was a minute of silence, before he broke down sobbing.
"She said she is going to be sold as a slave this afternoon, for $10," Kaliph said, his tears dropping into the brown dust. "What can a father say to that. How can I help? We all feel so useless."
Kaliph's daughter, who he did not want to name, had access to a group phone passed around between other girls imprisoned by the Islamic State in Bardoush prison in central Mosul.
All face the imminent prospect of being married off. Or worse, being used by the jihadis as a sex slave.
In the midst of unspeakable terror, human trafficking is taking place. Women (under 35) and young girls are being forcibly taken from their husbands and families to be cruelly enslaved and brutally abused at the hands of evil men.
The kidnapping and vile exploitation of precious young women is becoming a hallmark of the rise of IS and forms a terrifying sub-plot to the crisis currently tearing the region apart.
Friends, we need to be praying to our God to reach out in mercy and divine justice.
- Pray for the horrors in Iraq and Syria to cease.
- Pray for the girls now enslaved and facing an uncertain future.
- Pray for their grieving families to know the peace of Christ.
"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles." (Psalm 34 v 17)