A Yezidi woman who had been raped, tortured and sold into sexual slavery by the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq was appointed UN goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking on Friday.

During an emotional ceremony at UN headquarters, Nadia Murad Basee Taha, 23, accepted the distinction from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, becoming the first trafficking victim to hold the position of UN goodwill ambassador.

Murad said the Islamic State committed genocide against the Yezidi minority group, killing her mother and brother and selling her into sexual slavery along with thousands of other Yezidi girls and women, many of whom have died since or still remain in captivity.

"I was used in a way that they wanted to use me," Murad said.

After three months of captivity, Murad was able to escape and has been resettled in Germany since.

She said she was honoured to be appointed by the UN to represent the millions of victims of human trafficking around the world.

"Maybe I lived, so that I would be able to use my heart and soul and my words to be their voice," she said.

Renowned human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who represents Murad, called on the international community to make sure that members of the Islamic State group are prosecuted for their crimes.

"We know that what we have before us is genocide and we know that it's still ongoing, we know who the perpetrators are," Clooney said. "Yet two years after this genocide began ... not a single member of [the Islamic State] has been prosecuted in a court anywhere in the world."

Ban said he had been moved to tears when he heard Murad's story, which she first shared during a UN Security Council meeting in 2015.

"Nadia shows with her life how important it is to fight for trafficking victims," he said. "They deserve justice. And when we empower them, they can help transform our world."

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