Shamima Begum's lawyers claim she was 'child trafficking victim' and 'sexually exploited' in British citizenship row

SHAMIMA Begum's lawyers today claimed she may have been a child trafficking victim when she fled the UK to join ISIS is Syria.

The jihadi bride was 15 when she left her home in East London with two pals to join the bloodthirsty terror group.


She is now fighting the Home Office's decision to remove her British citizenship as she languishes in a camp in Syria.

Begum, now 21, recently claimed she was just a "dumb kid" when she joined ISIS and "didn't want to be the friend that was left behind".

But her lawyers today said there is "overwhelming evidence" she was a victim of trafficking when she fled to the war-ravaged country.

At a Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) hearing, they said the Home Office had a legal duty to investigate whether this was the case when her citizenship was removed.


Samantha Knights QC said "the counter-terrorism unit had suspicions of coercion and control" at the time she left left the UK.

She argued this "gives rise to the need to investigate the issue of trafficking".

In written submissions, her legal team accused the Home Office of failing to consider whether she was "a child trafficked to, and remaining in, Syria for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced marriage".

But lawyers for the Home Office said Begum "should not be permitted to amend her grounds again".

David Blundell QC also argued it is "significant" the claim was she "may have been trafficked" rather than a firm she "was" trafficked.

The lawyer added: "Ms Begum herself has never stated that she has been trafficked, despite having given numerous media interviews and provided instructions to her solicitors on a number of matters.

"The absence of a claim that she has in fact been trafficked means this ground proceeds on an uncertain factual basis.

"It is entirely speculative."

The hearing is being held to decide the next step in Begum's case and hree other girls who also had their British citizenship revoked on the grounds of national security.

In a recent interview, Begum moaned about not being able to watch the Friends reunion in the Al-Roj prison camp.

She also previously told how she spends her time watching ITV's Good Morning Britain in her tent and binging blockbusters such as Men in Black.

Begum, who now wears Western-style clothing – including Nike baseball caps and tight jeans – reveals she enjoys playing charades and dancing to Shakira in Zumba classes.

But her lawyers told the hearing she is in a "fundamentally unsafe environment" and described the conditions as "dire".

Ms Knights said: "Physical violence is common and psychological trauma is endemic".

Begum lost a legal battle to return to the UK for a court appeal over the removal of her British citizenship in February.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of the Government and said she cannot come back to the UK for a court case to reclaim her British passport for the safety of the public.

Lord Reed said her legal bid to reclaim her British citizenship should be postponed until she is no longer considered a threat to national security.

What did Shamima Begum do?

Begum and two pals – Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase – ran away to Syria in February 2015.

Begum used her elder sister’s passport to flee with her Bethnal Green Academy friends.

The trio flew to Turkey and then crossed the border into Syria with the aid of smugglers.

Within weeks of arriving, Shamima was married to Isis jihadi Yago Riedijk, 27, from Holland.

They had two children who died from malnutrition and disease.

The couple were separated as they fled Baghouz, the village where a few hundred Isis fighters were holed up in a desperate last stand.

Shamima ended up in a Kurdish refugee camp where she gave birth to her third child.

Eldest sister Renu revealed that her family had lost contact with her for the “longest time” until she was found by a Times journalist.

Begum was just 15 when she fled school in 2015 with two pals to join the death cult. 

She later wed an ISIS fighter and had three children, who have all since died.

But after the evil regime collapsed, Begum ended up in a refugee camp.

And soon after, then Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her UK citizenship to stop her from ever coming back. 

Begum has previously told how she had no regrets about joining the death cult and was not fazed by seeing discarded heads in bins.

She also told how she had sewn ISIS bombers into their suicide vests.

But she insisted last week she had changed – claiming she was "young and naive" when she decided to leave the UK and join ISIS.

She added: “I knew it was a big decision, but I just felt compelled to do it quickly. I didn't want to be the friend that was left behind.”

The hearing continues.



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