Sabaya: Docu about Sex Slavery by ISIS


Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival
The rescues of Yazidi girls and women forced into sex slavery by ISIS supporters are captured in Hogir Hirori’s engaging documentary.

The last major stronghold of the Islamic State — also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh — fell in March 2019, when the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces liberated the town of Baghouz, on the border between Syria and Iraq.

Among the militant group’s victims were the Yazidi, a religious minority in northern Iraq that was targeted by ISIS for genocide and the mass kidnapping, rape and forced marriage of its young girls.

Iraqi-born, Sweden-based director Hogir Hirori (The DeminerThe Girl Who Saved My Life) capture this tragedy in Sabaya, which competed in the 2021 World Cinema Documentary category at Sundance. Named after the ISIS term for sex slaves, the film follows Mahmud, a Syrian man who works for an organization that reunites the sabayas with their families.

Most of the rescued victims in Sabaya are in their late teens, though one girl, now seven, was abducted from her family as a one-year-old.

Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema Documentary Competition)
Production companies: Lolav Media, Ginestra Film
Director: Hogir Hirori
90 minutes