This article contains disturbing content and addresses an issue that desperately needs to be brought to light.
Every single year, pedophilia, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking rates increase. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide and 4.5 million people trapped in forced sex trafficking around the globe. At least 100,000 children are prostituted annually in the U.S., adding to the $9.8 billion U.S. sex trafficking industry.
It’s not just pimps and escaped convicts involved. It’s the people we’re expected to respect or “look up to” the most: the politicians, the elite, the wealthy businessmen, your neighbours, and oftentimes the people that you’d least expect. In this particularly devastating case, it’s the people we’re supposed to trust to help others: the United Nations’ peacekeepers. As it turns out, these people are anything but “peace keepers.” Instead, they’re the ones wreaking havoc in these villages and causing children to have nightmares for the rest of their lives.
An Associated Press investigation into the United Nations (UN) has revealed that over the past 12 years, there have been approximately 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers and other employees around the world. Over 300 of those cases involved children; however, very few perpetrators have actually been arrested and held accountable for their crimes. The Child Sex Ring Run by UN Peacekeepers in Haiti
Many of the children living in poverty in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, are left to fend for themselves, scavenging for food and struggling with hunger on a daily basis. Their lives drastically changed when the UN peacekeepers moved to their village, as they were offered snacks and cookies.
However, this food came with a heavy price no one should ever have to pay. In exchange for food, the UN peacekeepers demanded sex from children as young as 12. In regards to the child sex ring run by UN peacekeepers in Haiti, nine children were being passed around from 2004 to 2007. “I did not even have breasts,” said a girl, known as “V01” (Victim No. 1). Vo1 was allegedly forced to have sex with approximately 50 peacekeepers over a period of three years, between the ages of 12 and 15. One of the perpetrators was a “Commandant” who she said gave her 75 cents in exchange for sex. Vo1 explained that she would often sleep in UN trucks on the base. A young boy, Vo9, was 15 when he was first sexually abused by a UN peacekeeper. Over the next three years, he was allegedly forced to have sex with over 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, on average four times per day. There are hundreds of other cases like these, yet very few of the perpetrators have been held accountable for their actions. From a legal perspective, the UN has no jurisdiction over peacekeepers so the organization can’t exactly put them on trial. In addition, the names of the peacekeepers who were found guilty have been kept confidential, meaning it’s impossible to figure out who’s involved. The UN actually found out about what was going on and the only action the organization took was to send home 114 of the peacekeepers. Of the 114 UN peacekeepers involved, no one was imprisoned. Though this put an end to that specific sex ring, the sexual abuse and exploitation in Haiti by UN peacekeepers didn’t stop there. In addition, when the sex ring was being investigated, a team of Sri Lankan officials traveled to Haiti for two weeks to further investigate the allegations. They only communicated with 25 soldiers out of more than 900 in the country and their findings indicated that only two corporals and one private were involved with having sex with two “young” victims. This is obviously a vast understatement of the amount of Sri Lankan peacekeepers involved and speaks to the level of corruption that exists within the political system. After considerable evasion, the Sri Lankan government came forward stating that it had only further investigated 18 soldiers and that “the U.N. Secretariat has acknowledged in writing, action taken by the Government, and informed that the Secretariat, as of 29 September 2014, considers the matter closed.” As of last year, some of the peacekeepers involved in the ring were still in the Sri Lankan military and the UN continues to send Sri Lankan peacekeepers to Haiti. To be clear, it wasn’t just UN peacekeepers from Sri Lanka involved in the sexual abuse and exploitation of Haitians. Alleged abusers were from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uruguay, and Sri Lanka, according to UN data and interviews. You can watch the Associated Press’ video regarding the sex ring and abuse in Haiti below:
More Cases of Sexual Abuse by UN Peacekeepers
In March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared the organization would be implementing new and improved measures to mitigate sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and other personnel. “Let us declare in one voice: We will not tolerate anyone committing or condoning sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not let anyone cover up these crimes with the U.N. flag,” Guterres stated.
Though his sentiments seem sincere, he also sounds sort of like a broken record that’s continuously regurgitating the same message. If his statement has a familiar ring to it, it’s because it closely resembles statements made in a report the UN commissioned over a decade ago promising to abolish any and all sexual abuse. Yet somehow the organization still struggles with this reoccurring issue. Officials have known that Haitian children were being abused by UN peacekeepers, and no one has done anything about it. It’s not that none of these children are coming forward, it’s that no one has bothered to hold the perpetrators responsible for their actions, including the UN. In one case, an 11-year-old boy was gang-raped by a group of Uruguayan UN peacekeepers, who actually filmed their actions on a cell phone. The video ended up going viral, and despite this important piece of evidence, none of the perpetrators went to trial in Haiti and only four of the five were convicted of “private violence” in Uruguay, a far lesser charge than they deserved. Officials spun the video as “a prank gone wrong,” when in reality it was clearly rape. It’s not only in Haiti, either; UN peacekeepers and other employees have been sexually abusing and exploiting children all over the world. Keep in mind that out of the 2,000 cases reported, only 150 of those were actually in Haiti. There was another pedophile ring in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the UN was involved in — UN police officers in Bosnia paid for prostitutes and were caught trafficking young women from Eastern Europe — and the UN was involved with child sexual abuse and rape in the Central African Republic as well.