Peacekeepers Paid For Sex With Young Girls: U.N. Investigation

Photo: Michael Gottschalk/Photothek/ Getty Images.
At least four U.N. peacekeepers on assignment in a war-torn African nation allegedly paid for sex with young girls, spending as little as 50 cents to sleep with a 13-year-old, a shocking new investigation has revealed.

The U.N. peacekeepers were sent to the Central African Republic in 2014 to support its government, and to help the country end a civil war that's raged for years. U.N. officials have stated that the four peacekeepers accused of involvement in an alleged prostitution ring were from Gabon, Morocco, Burundi, and France, according to The Washington Post.

The reported abuse, uncovered as part of an independent U.N. investigation, took place in the city of Bangui, at the M'poko camp, which is near an international airport and helps internally displaced persons.

Officials informed the Post that the camp's lack of official U.N. presence has made abuse common at the site. "The M'poko camp is unfortunately a place where horrible, unacceptable things happen to women and children," Anthony Banbury, the U.N. assistant secretary general for field support, told the Post. The officials also suggested that there may be more abuses by peacekeepers at the camp that have gone unreported.

In August, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that sexual abuse is "a cancer" in the U.N. peacekeeping system. The recent cases are only the latest in a string of alleged incidents.

There have been 22 other accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in the past 14 months, the Post noted. Last month, a U.N. investigation claimed that "the credibility of the U.N. and peacekeeping operations are in jeopardy" because abuse reporting policies haven't been enforced.

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