Financing Da'esh with Sexual Slavery: A Case Study in Not Gendering Conflict Analysis and Intervention

Susan Hutchinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    It is common for the international community to restrict financial flows to terrorist groups as part of efforts to combat terrorism. However, this strategy was less effective with Da'esh because they were a largely financially self-sustaining organization. Analysis of the caliphate's economy and any external funding streams was not gendered. Had analysts understood Da'esh through a gendered lens they could have identified a route toward restricting income. It was known that approximately 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were held in sexual servitude at the height of the caliphate. Because little to no effort was made to account for these women in the battles for Raqqa or Mosul and military operations did not include freeing such slaves, the Yazidi community was left with no choice but to try to buy back their loved ones. This market in sexual slavery may have injected as much as US$21 million into the Da'esh economy, and buying back the remaining captives could provide Da'esh with up to US$90 million more. Had international security operations accounted for those in captivity and freed them as part of the war against Da'esh, it could have reduced this revenue stream. This article calculates the monetary value of Da'esh's market in sexual slavery as a means of demonstrating the effect of not gendering conflict analysis and intervention in the war against Da'esh.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)379-386
    JournalJournal of Global Security Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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