U.N. Peacekeepers Sexually Exploited Haitian Women, Report Says

A new investigation finds that abuse was rampant among peacekeepers.

U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

A new report due to be released by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services alleges that members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission traded neccessities like food and medicine in exchange for sex with at least 225 Haitian women. The investigation, which took place a year ago in Haiti, where more than 8,000 peacekeepers have been stationed since 2004, found a slew of human rights abuses, including the rape of minors under the age of 18.

“For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby-care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need’,” the report says, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a draft of it.

"In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media," the report says. "Only seven interviewees knew about the United Nations policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse."

The report points to larger systemic weaknesses in the organization’s ability to fulfill its “peacekeeping” mission. These more recent failures appear to be consistent with the U.N.’s past conduct—in 2005, a similar report found that U.N. peacekeepers were not only sexually abusing young girls but were also involved in global sex trafficking.