In a Reuters publication, Yezidis in the Netherlands and around the world have stated that Big-Tech companies, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram among others, are responsible for contributing to the trade of Yezidi women and children amongst ISIS members via their platforms.
The family of Wahhab Hassoo have, by their own admission, paid around $80,000 to buy his cousin back from ISIS. Images of her were shared among ISIS-jihadists on WhatsApp and Telegram. The Yezidi activist seeks justice and compensation for his family and other Yezidi victims.
NL Helpt Yezidi’s team and their partner-organisations have spent two years compiling a report. The 120-page report contains public evidence which shows that human trafficking has indeed occurred through these platforms. ISIS allegedly made groups on Telegram, WhatsApp, and other platforms explicitly for the buying and selling of Yezidi women and children. NL Helpt Yezidi’s team calls for the governments of the world to investigate the crimes committed against Yezidis, specifically regarding the role of social media networks.
“ISIS used these platforms not only to buy and sell people, but also to promote their propaganda videos and terrorist ideology. For example, the terror group used Twitter to recruit foreign jihadists, who came from the Netherlands, Germany, France, and other countries. That is against the norms of International Law, and against these Big-Tech companies own regulations. Yet, they have done nothing to stop this" says Wahhab Hassoo during his interview with Reuters.
Indeed, the so-called Artificial Intelligences (AI) of these Big Tech companies have too many shortcomings. For example, in the analysis of texts and posts in other languages. ISIS’ jihadists were well aware of this issue, and took advantage of it by using local Arabic dialects or other languages that the AI of these companies could not detect.
''It is time to do something about it. I have seen with my own eyes how Yezidi children were trafficked on social media networks. If there is an investigation that leads to a criminal trial, that would be good. If it leads to a civil suit, so be it. We want the truth to come out," says Catherine van Kampen, president of NL Helps Yezidis.
The report was sent two weeks ago to the White House, the Dutch government, and members of the second chamber (Tweede Kamer). Other European governments also received the report. ''I am in contact with some Kurdish government leaders in Iraq and they too received the report,'' says Wahhab Hassoo.
The report has been translated into several languages and can be found at this link.