A report has uncovered that U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, operated a child sex ring—but none of them was ever arrested.
The Associated Press got hold of an internal U.N. report documenting the involvement of at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers in a child sex ring. According to the report, the peacekeepers exploited nine children in Haiti from 2004 to 2007.
Ten years ago, the U.N. conducted an investigation when complaints of "suspicious interactions" between peacekeepers and the children in Haiti surfaced. Victims and witnesses were interviewed.
"The evidence shows that from late 2004 to mid-October 2007, at least 134 military members of the current and previous Sri Lankan contingents sexually exploited and abused at least nine Haitian children," the report said, according to AP.
"The sexual acts described by the nine victims are simply too many to be presented exhaustively in this report, especially since each claimed multiple sexual partners at various locations where the Sri Lankan contingents were deployed throughout Haiti over several years," the report further said.
Some of the victims were children as young as 12. The peacekeepers used the children for sex and gave them food and money as payment. One of the girls, who was exploited for three years, said a "commandant" gave her 75 cents in exchange for sex.
Of the 134 Sri Lankan soldiers, 114 were sent home after the report was released. No one was reprimanded.
The AP investigation found story upon story of how girls, women and boys suffered sexual abuse at the hands of peacekeepers. Some of them were raped, others were gang raped while others had "transactional sex" that allowed them to live through a life of poverty.
One girl said she served more than 10 Sri Lankan peacekeepers as a prostitute. One boy said he was gang-raped in 2011 by U.N. peacekeepers from Uruguay.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that there were almost 2,000 reports of sexual abuse and exploitation involving peacekeepers from about 2 dozen countries from 2004 to 2016. Of these, more than 300 were children.
In 2015, the U.N. released a report documenting sexual abuse on 231 Haitians. The said report uncovered that women in rural Haiti were forced into "transactional sex" out of need for food, shelter, medicines and materials baby care.
The report admitted that while "transactional sex" was quite common in Haiti, it was underreported.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced last month that the organization is adopting new measures to address the peacekeepers' sexual abuse and exploitation of the locals in their host country. The organization laid out similar measures 10 years ago, but most of them were not carried out.