United Nations—U.N. peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo exchanged eggs, bread and a few dollars for sex with girls they were meant to protect, the United Nations watchdog agency has said.
Soldiers would regularly have sex with girls as young as 13 in rundown shelters, in the bush near the military camps and on the bare ground behind buildings usually just after dark, a report from the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) said Friday.
Many of the girls were raped and had lost their families in a recent civil war, the report said. Forced to support themselves, they were desperate for food and money.
“A lot of the girls were traumatized by war as well as abuse,” said Barbara Dixon of OIOS, who worked on the report.
“What they knew was, if they wanted to eat, this was a way to do it.”
One 14-year-old girl would receive $1 or $2 or two eggs each time she had sex with a particular U.N. peacekeeper, while another collected $3 and a packet of milk after she had sex with a soldier.
Boys between the age of eight and 18 would act as pimps to the peacekeepers by bringing them girls, often in exchange for paltry amounts of food or money.
Sources familiar with the investigation said allegations have been made against soldiers from South Africa, Uruguay, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia and Nepal.