UN peacekeepers buy sex with cellphones, TVs

June 12, 2015 4:54 am
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Members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) pictured in Cap-Haitien on January 24, 2015/AFP
Members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) pictured in Cap-Haitien on January 24, 2015/AFP
UNITED NATIONS, United States, Jun 12 – UN peacekeepers routinely buy sex with everything from jewellery to televisions and even shoes in countries where they are deployed, a draft UN report says, in the latest damning revelations tarnishing its operations.

A third of sexual abuse allegations targeting UN personnel involve children and teenagers under 18, according to the report by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), obtained by AFP Thursday.

Interviews done with victims in Haiti and Liberia suggest that the United Nations is downplaying the scale of the problem by underreporting cases of sexual abuse and exploitation by its peacekeeping personnel.

In Haiti, 231 people admitted to having “transactional sexual relationships” with peacekeepers in exchange for “jewellery, ‘church’ shoes, dresses, fancy underwear, perfume, cell phones, radios, televisions and, in a few cases, laptops.”

The women interviewed in the report said they were hungry, homeless or needed items for their babies or their households.

A survey of 489 women aged 18 to 30 in the Liberian capital Monrovia showed that over a quarter of the city’s women had engaged in sex with UN peacekeepers, usually for money.

When peacekeepers refused to pay, some women in Haiti “withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media,” according to the report.

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