Peacekeepers and aid workers accused of sex abuse

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Save the Children report alleges sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers and international aid workers

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Story Transcript

VOICEOVER: In times of global disasters, international aid workers are supposed to be the ones who help. But a new report accuses peacekeepers from many international agencies, including the United Nations, of shocking sexual abuses on children, some of whom are as young as six. The charity group Save the Children says the problem has been well known since 2002, but that little has been done to stop it.

JASMINE WHITBREAD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SAVE THE CHILDREN: The key point about the report is that children are frightened to step forward and report the cases of abuse, things like rape or exchange of sex for food, because they fear reprisals.

VOICEOVER: The study was based on research in southern Sudan, the Ivory Coast, and Haiti. Investigators found that more than half the children they talked with knew of at least some abuse.

WHITBREAD: It ranges from anything—sex for food through to coerced sex. And it really is despicable that it’s allowed to carry on by this minority of people, and brings the whole of the humanitarian response community into disrepute.

VOICEOVER: The group thinks a new international body is needed to help fix the situation.

WHITBREAD: What we’re recommending is a global watchdog be set up, and local safe mechanisms for children and their families to be able to go separately to report these abuses in the safety of knowing that there won’t be reprisals.

VOICEOVER: A spokesman for the UN peacekeeping department calls the report deeply disturbing. Tim McGuire, the Associated Press.

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