United Nations peacekeepers follow a practice of trading goods for sex with women, teenagers and children, a report has revealed. The report says the practice occurs in every country in which the peacekeeprs are deployed.
The report from the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) reveals that U.N. peacekeepers offer perfume, jewelry, dresses, televisions and mobile phones to draw sexual favors from women throughout the world. The May 15 report is based on hundreds of interviews carried out in economically challenged countries such as Liberia and Haiti.
Women in those countries have acknowledged that they perform transactional sex because they lack medication, household items, baby care products and shelter. Several women cite hunger as one of the reasons for performing sex with U.N. peacekeepers.
According to the report, there were 480 accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation against U.N. peacekeepers from 2008 to 2013. Around a third of those cases involved U.N. officials with teenagers and children.
The report notes that the highest number of cases related to sexual abuse happened during U.N. missions in Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. "Evidence from two peacekeeping missions demonstrates that transactional sex is quite common but underreported in peacekeeping missions," Iran's Press TV quoted the OIOS report as saying.
The report also notes that there was a drop in sexual abuse cases between 2007 and 2014. While the number was 127 in 2007, it came down to 51 in 2014. The reason behind the drop is believed to be “underreporting.”
According to a survey among 489 women ages 18 to 30 in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, women performed transactional sex with peacekeepers for money. It is also revealed that the women seized the peacekeepers’ badges when the U.N. representatives refused to pay. The women often threatened to expose the peacekeepers' actions over social media.
According to U.N. regulations, exchanging “money, employment, goods or services for sex” is prohibited, the Washington Post reported. However, it does not ban peacekeepers from having sex with the people they serve.
U.N. regulations discourage sexual relationships “based on inherently unequal power dynamics,” but it does not ban them. There are currently more than 125,000 U.N. civilians, troops and police deployed around the world.