Playing Report: Child Abuse by Humanitarian Workers

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May 27, 2008 A Save the Children UK report released Tuesday alleges rampant sexual abuse of children at the hands of peacekeepers and international aid workers in war zones and disaster areas. (May 27)In times of global disaters -- international aid workers are supposed to be the ones that 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. SOT: Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children chief executive: "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." The study was based on research in southern Sudan, the Ivory Coast and Haiti. Investigators found that more than half the children they talked to knew of at least some abuse. SOT:" It ranges from anything from sex for food through to coerced sex and it really is despicable that it is allowed to carry on by this minority of people and brings the whole of the humanitarian response community into disrepute." The group thinks a new international body is needed to help fix the situation. SOT: "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 there won't be reprisals." A spokesman the U.N. Peacekeeping Department calls the report "deeply disturbing." The Associated Press.


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