In early June, 2016, HERA’s supported led the safe return home of seven (7) people in Northern Iraq. Two (2) women and five (5) children were among the rescued persons. All of the persons had previously been held captive by ISIS. Prior to their escape, the women were sold as slaves to ISIS fighters while the children were being indoctrinated into the strict extremist ideology of ISIS.
The escape and rescue of these seven persons came after weeks of planning by HERA’s team and local partners. HERA’s veterans-led team conducted the initial information gathering and regarding the this effort. The effort included a network of trusted partners in HERA’s network of smugglers who made contact with the individuals and helped smuggle them into ISIS contested territory. Working with local partners, HERA’s humanitarian operators then provided logistical support, followed by immediate medical and mental health assessments.
Following a period of rehabilitation and support, the rescued persons will have the option to enter into HERA’s school or job training programs, depending on age.