“I froze when I looked at his face carefully."

​Ashwaq Ta’lo is a Yazidi teenager enslaved by ISIS in 2014. Four years later, walking about her new neighborhood in a Stuttgart suburb, she found herself face to face with her captor.

In 2016 she escaped to Germany from northern Iraq, where she had been in ISIS captivity for months. 

This year, while walking around her neighborhood in a Stuttgart suburb, she was found by her captor and tormenter.

In a video ​published by a pro-Kurdish Facebook page, Ta'lo recounts her captivity.

She was 15 when her entire family was captured in an ISIS attack on areas in Northern populated by Yazidis, an ethnic-religious minority prosecuted by the Sunni Islamic State.

In Mosul, she was sold to a Syrian ISIS guard named Abu Humam for $100 as a sex slave, as was the fate of almost 7,000 female Yazidi prisoners during the Islamic State's murderous expansion across the Levant. (Yazidi men were usually massacred.)

Ta'lo escaped within a few months, and along with her mother and brother, made it to Germany, where they sought asylum. 

Five of her siblings are still missing. Her sister is thought to still be in ISIS captivity.

But then, in 2016, she saw Abu Humam, Ta'lo remembers in the video. It was in Stuttgart, where Abu Humam had himself registered as a refugee.

At first she didn't believe it could possibly have been him, she says. She was sure her past was left behind. But in 2018 she saw him again -- when he confronted her.

“I froze when I looked at his face carefully. It was Abu Humam, with the same scary beard and ugly face," she told the Kurdish Bas News.

Abu Humam knew who she was, too. He tried to get her to admit it, she recalls in the video, but she denied her identity. He talked to her in Arabic and she answered in German and Turkish.

“I am Abu Humam and you were with me for a while in Mosul," she remembers him telling her. "He then said: 'I know that you've lived in Germany since 2015. I know that you live with your mother and your brother.'"

"In short, he knew about my whole life," Ta'lo says with a trembling voice in the Facebook video. "I was so scared, I could barely talk."


According to the Bis report, Ta'lo turned to her brother and together they went to the German police. But the police couldn't help them, they were told. As an asylum-seeker himself, Abu Humam could not be arrested, as long as he hasn't committed any crime.

Ta'lo also mentions knowing other girls in Germany who had been abused and tortured by ISIS, and have also seen their abusers roaming free among the refugee populations.

"How can a terrorist, clearly identified by one of his victims, walk around that freely in Germany," the Facebook post protested. "New arrivals in Europe need to be checked before they reach European soil. Europe mustn't change its internal laws and rules because of a few criminal thugs."

Despite that, Ta'lo emotionally thanks "all Germans" for providing her with asylum, education, and medical care. 

"I want to thank all German for helping me forget," she says.