Monday, May 26, 2008

Aid workers raping, abusing children: report

A report by UK charity Save the Children says children are being sexually abused by peacekeepers and aid workers in parts of the world affected by conflict.

The report says the silence that surrounds the abuse is almost as shocking as the abuse itself.

It says children as young as six years old are being abused, raped and exploited by the very people who are supposed to be looking after them.

A 13-year-old girl near the Ivory Coast town of Moule described how 10 UN peacekeepers gang-raped her in a field near her home and left her bleeding, trembling and vomiting on the ground.

No action has been taken against the soldiers.

The report also found that aid workers have been sexually abusing both boys and girls.

The head of Save the Children in Ivory coast, Heather Carr, says the majority of abuses are unpunished or not reported because the victims are too scared or powerless to speak out.

"It's a minority of people but they are using their power to sexually exploit children," she said.

"The sort of things that go on are sex for food - children will do anything - the level of poverty here is very high and people are desperate, and children don't have the voice to report about this.

"I mean they're suffering sexual exploitation abuse in silence."

The United Nations has said it welcomes the report, which it will study closely.


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