Captain's Quarters Blog


« Nuts Look For Their Own Shell in South Carolina | Main | Nader, with Tinfoil Hat »

May 25, 2004
UN Implements Sex-For-Food Program In The Congo

The London Independent reports this morning that the UN, which has been so critical of the abuses by American troops at Abu Ghraib, faces its own scandal. In a hideous twist, UN "peacekeeping" troops stationed in the Congo and supposedly assisting refugees of the war there have forced women, many barely teenagers and some already rape victims, to prostitute themselves for food:

Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering.

The Independent has found that mothers as young as 13 - the victims of multiple rape by militiamen - can only secure enough food to survive in the sprawling refugee camp by routinely sleeping with UN peace-keepers.

Testimony from girls and aid workers in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Bunia, in the north-east corner of Congo, claims that every night teenage girls crawl through a wire fence to an adjoining UN compound to sell their bodies to Moroccan and Uruguayan soldiers.

The UN's troops prey specifically on women who have been rape victims, as their society routinely shuns such victims as shameful and "dirtied," as one such victim called herself. The Independent identified over 30 girls and women who regularly slip through the convenient holes in the wire fence between the refugee camp and where the soldiers bivouac, as one said, sometimes once a night, sometimes more, in order to secure food for themselves and their children.

What of the management at the camp? The UN contracts with Atlas to manage the camp, but they have been useless in stopping the Sex-For-Food Program as administered by the blue-helmeted soldiers. The Independent interviewed one Atlas worker who they wouldn't identify, who told them that Atlas was well aware of the rapes and prostitution at the camp but declined to do anything about it:

One worker, employed by Atlas, the aid group that manages the camp, confirmed that staff were aware of the trade in sex but were too frightened to tackle it.

He said: "There is nothing to stop them and the girls need food. It is best to keep quiet, though. I am frightened that if I say something I may lose my job and I have children of my own to feed."

If nothing else exemplifies the UN's track record in peacekeeping, that statement perfectly captures its essence. The people who manage the program won't stop atrocities -- the UN defines systematic rape as an atrocity, specifically in reference to the Congo -- because they're bureaucrats who prefer to keep their jobs. The head of the UN in Bunia, Dominique McAdams, claims not to have seen any evidence of sexual violence in the camp even though the Independent (which hardly is anti-UN) rather easily found dozens of girls and women who spoke about the abuses. Apparently she never bothered to ask the workers at Atlas for their testimony.

So we have an international armed force in a foreign country supposedly there to protect the native population, which is instead abusing the civilians under their protection. We have contractors on site that have full knowledge of the atrocities but who conspire to keep quiet. We have a command structure that has allowed this to happen, through a lack of oversight or worse, and who have not bothered to investigate very thoroughly. All of this sounds very familiar, but at least in the case of Abu Ghraib, the command structure made an effort to arrest and try those responsible for the abuses they committed.

When does the international media start accusing the UN executive of deliberately causing the rape and prostitution of Congolese women? When does the New York Times call for Kofi Annan's resignation? More importantly, when will we finally get the recognition that the UN as an organization is no better, and in most cases orders of magnitude worse, than a coalition of free nations when it comes to peacekeeping and military action?

Don't hold your breath. (via Memeorandum)

UPDATE: Michael Moynihan (via Instapundit) agrees:

Pre-pubescent teenagers having sex for ransomed fruit is not prostitution, it is a sex crime.

The UN, paragons of virtue that they are, are on the case: Dominique McAdams, the head of the UN in Bunia, said she believed that there was sexual violence in the camp, but said she had yet to see any evidence. (emphasis added)

Will the European pressin another fit of humanitarian piqueput the Congo story on A1, above-the-fold and demand Ms. McAdams resignation? Will the American press?

I suspect Moynihan, like myself, will maintain normal breathing while we await the answers.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 25, 2004 5:49 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference UN Implements Sex-For-Food Program In The Congo:

» Sex for Food? from Watcher of Weasels
The latest UN scandal is beyond disturbing...  apparently, there are allegations that rape victims in the Congo are being targeted for sexual extortion by the very "peacekeepers" supposedly sent there to protect them.  I'm sure this will get th... [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2004 3:08 PM

» Don't Hold Your Breath from Everything I Know Is Wrong
Captian Ed was smart when he said (while filling in for Hugh Hewitt yesterday) that he would "maintain normal breathing," while waiting for U.S. major media coverage of the Sex for Food scandal. Not a peep from the majors. All [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2004 4:16 PM

» Link Dump of the Brain-Dead from Thief's Den
Well, not really you. Me, specifically. Otherwise I'm just going to collapse right here at work. With that said, get the truck, we're going to the dump. Ernie the Attorney reports on a good idea in the Louisiana Legislature (as opposed to the now-DOA b... [Read More]

Tracked on June 16, 2004 4:24 PM

» The Most Massive Link Dump In Recorded History from Thief's Den
I save a lot of links in my blog surfing, thanks to FeedDemon's NewsBin feature. Too many. But see, I usually have no time to blog. Thus, these entries are filed away in my newsbin, ported back and forth from home to office computers and back again, ju... [Read More]

Tracked on August 14, 2004 8:54 PM

» The Most Massive Link Dump In Recorded History from Thief's Den
I save a lot of links in my blog surfing, thanks to FeedDemon's NewsBin feature. Too many. But see, I usually have no time to blog. Thus, these entries are filed away in my newsbin, ported back and forth from home to office computers and back again, ju... [Read More]

Tracked on August 14, 2004 8:59 PM

» The Most Massive Link Dump In Recorded History from Thief's Den
I save a lot of links in my blog surfing, thanks to FeedDemon's NewsBin feature. Too many. But see, I usually have no time to blog. Thus, these entries are filed away in my newsbin, ported back and forth from home to office computers and back again, ju... [Read More]

Tracked on August 14, 2004 9:17 PM

» Back to Emergency Sex from Chapomatic
I finally finished this book. The book was not the best written book I've ever read, but there's an immediacy to it that asks questions that are uncomfortable and hard, if not impossible, to answer. Three authors means that three voices are differe... [Read More]

Tracked on November 26, 2004 11:20 PM



Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios





blog advertising



button1.jpg

Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!