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The peacekeeping child sexual abuse scandal is a series of sexual scandals involving soldiers in United Nations peacekeeping forces found to be abusing underaged girls in developing countries. It has seriously undermined the credibility of peacekeeping missions due to the fact that soldiers are consequently perceived as doing more harm than good.[citation needed]

Rapid increase in prostitutionEdit

Reporters witnessed a rapid increase in prostitution in Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, and Kosovo after UN and, in the case of the latter two, NATO peacekeeping forces moved in.[citation needed]

1996 U.N. studyEdit

In the 1996 U.N. study The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, former first lady of Mozambique Graça Machel documented: "In 6 out of 12 country studies on sexual exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict prepared for the present report, the arrival of peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child prostitution." [1]

Eight years later, Gita Sahgal spoke out with regard to the fact that prostitution and sex abuse crops up wherever humanitarian intervention efforts are set up. She observed: "The issue with the UN is that peacekeeping operations unfortunately seem to be doing the same thing that other militaries do. Even the guardians have to be guarded."[2]

Child abuse by UN troops in Ivory CoastEdit

As the United Nations worked to restore peace and protect women and children in Africa's troubled Cote d'Ivoire in 2007, it announced it was investigating "serious allegations of wide-spread sexual exploitation and abuse." Shockingly, the alleged perpetrators were with the U.N.—Moroccan troops serving as peacekeepers.

A confidential probe by U.N. and Moroccan investigators turned up evidence that 14 soldiers were involved, according to a person familiar with the matter; DNA analysis showed some of them had fathered children with the victims. But the U.N. has never disclosed the results of the investigation.[3]

Involvement in brothelsEdit

There was one highly publicised case where members of the UN peacekeeping force were accused of direct involvement in the procurement of sex slaves for a local brothel in Bosnia.[citation needed] The use of agents for procurement and management of brothels has allowed the military to believe itself shielded from the issue of sexual slavery and human trafficking.[citation needed] Some NATO troops have been linked to prostitution and forced prostitution in Bosnia and Kosovo, as have some UN employees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they were accused of the sexual abuse of underage girls.[citation needed]

Actions of a fewEdit

Proponents of peacekeeping argue that the actions of a few should not incriminate the many participants in the mission, yet NATO and the UN have come under criticism for not taking the issue of forced prostitution linked to peacekeeping missions seriously enough.[4][5]

Troops in Haiti and SudanEdit

Most recently, UN troops in Haiti and Sudan have been accused of sexual abuse of children [6][7]

ReferencesEdit