More than 100 U.N. Peacekeepers stationed in Haiti have been implicated in a child sex ring where children as young as 12 years old were exploited, but have never been held accountable for their abuses, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.
The investigation described in disturbing detail how from 2004 to 2007, at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers on the Island were able to exploit nine children on a daily basis. While 144 peacekeepers were sent home following an internal U.N. report on the scandal, so far none have been sent to jail.
A girl identified as Victim Number One, told U.N. investigators that from the ages of 12 to 15 she had sex with nearly 50 peacekeepers, adding that “I did not even have breasts.” She recalled sleeping in U.N. trucks and having sex with a “Commandant” who gave her 75 cents in exchange.
Victim Number Eight said he had sex with more than 20 peacekeepers, where they would commonly remove their name tags before taking him away to trucks. Another boy told investigators that over the course of three years he had sex with more than 100 peacekeepers, averaging around four every day.
As the U.N. peacekeeper are made up of troops from around the world, prosecuting peacekeepers from crimes relies on the willingness of the country that sends the troops. So far, justice remains elusive for victims.
A previous AP investigation over the last 12 years found that there were close to 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers across the globe, with over 300 of these allegations involving children. Overall, however, only a handful have served jail time over the abuses.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission first arrived in Haiti in 2004 following a U.S.-supported coup against then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to end the mission, which is one of the longest running in history. While the U.N. says that the mission has improved stability, it has also left a trail of destruction.
Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river. The U.N. refuses to accept legal responsibility for the outbreak of the disease. Some 9,300 people have died and more than 800,000 sickened due to the disease which causes uncontrollable diarrhea.
Haiti is known to be the poorest country in the Americas and one of the poorest in the western hemisphere, with high levels of extreme poverty and people living on an average of less than US$2 a day.