AP Report: Nearly 2,000 Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, AP notified followers that an investigative report revealed broad and damming allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation over the last 12 years by UN peacekeepers around the world. In total, AP uncovered almost 2,000 allegations.

Sri Lankan peacekeepers are accused of being involved in a child sex-ring in Haiti.

Yet, the story thus far has gone largely overlooked in the media. Considering the extent of child abuse involved in this story one might think it would elicit outrage.

From the AP report:

“The men who came from a far-away place and spoke a strange language offered the Haitian children cookies and other snacks. Sometimes they gave them a few dollars. But the price was high: The Sri Lankan peacekeepers wanted sex from girls and boys as young as 12.”

“‘I did not even have breasts,’ said a girl, known as V01 — Victim No. 1. She told U.N. investigators that over the next three years, from ages 12 to 15, she had sex with nearly 50 peacekeepers, including a ‘Commandant’ who gave her 75 cents.”

“An Associated Press investigation of U.N. missions during the past 12 years found nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world — signaling the crisis is much larger than previously known. More than 300 of the allegations involved children, the AP found, but only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators served jail time.”

“In one particularly grim case in Haiti, a teenage boy said he was gang-raped in 2011 by Uruguayan peacekeepers who filmed the alleged assault on a cellphone. Dozens of Haitian women also say they were raped, and dozens more had what is euphemistically called “survival sex” in a country where most people live on less than $2.50 a day, the AP found.”

Now, the AP adds that the UN is in a bind because it has no legal jurisdiction over its peacekeepers. This means it is left up to the countries that send the troops. But there remains no agreement on reform or accountability from member states, and according to AP, the UN has been slow to take real action.

Member states may see no urgent need to act until there is collective and vocal calls for it. After all, that is what elicits an urgent response — collective outrage.

We are outraged by scenes of a man being dragged off a United plane, beaten and bloodied, and understandably so. We are outraged by a White House press secretary who makes eye-widening remarks about Hitler, chemical weapons, and the Holocaust, and understandably so.

The media has devoted a lot of the 24-hour news day to these stories, which adds additional fuel to the proverbial fire. That then creates a sense of urgency for people to act. Members of Congress have even suggested that lawmakers should act on the United scandal.

But what if the media devoted a segment to this story — a story of children being abused and exploited around the world while the UN has taken no substantive action?

That might catch people’s attention. More than anything, people respond to stories of children being abused, harmed, or killed. Consider what sparked the biggest international outrage with Syria and Trump’s own statements about why he ordered the strike on the Syrian airfield.

If people don’t see it, if the media doesn’t cover it, or if it is not a mobile video that goes viral on social media, people won’t know about it.

And there are big stories to cover right now. From Russia to North Korea to Syria, cable news is devoting most of its attention to U.S. foreign policy — if not United Airlines or Sean Spicer’s holocaust remarks. UN member states are also reoccupied with rising tensions in global affairs.

However, does this story deserve more media attention? What do you think?

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