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A United Nations report admits that many soldiers bartered money, mobile phones and jewellery for sex with people they should have protected in Haití and Liberia.
“Evidence from two peacekeeping mission countries demonstrates that transactional sex is quite common but underreported in peacekeeping missions”, said a report document by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services.
According to this information, UN peacekeepers (also known as ‘Blue helmets’) regularly barter goods for sex with people in the countries the world body is meant to be helping.
They are paid with cash, jewellery, mobile phones and other items.
The draft report, published by Reuters, says hundreds of women surveyed in Haiti and Liberia said they had been motivated by hunger, poverty and lifestyle improvement to sell sex to UN peacekeepers.
The document shows that 480 sexual exploitation and abuse claims were made in 2008-13.
One-third of the allegations involved children.
“In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media”, AP agency adds
The news agencies are also quoting what they say is a response to the draft by the UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.The departments do not dispute that underreporting remains a concern.
But they also stress that there has been a significant increase in deployment of peacekeepers over the past 10 years and a large decrease in sexual exploitation and abuse allegations.
The UN currently has about 125,000 peacekeepers deployed in a number of countries around the world.