WTF Friday, 5/8/2015

Last week the news broke that French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic sexually abused homeless children begging for food at a Bangui refugee camp.

We know about this because a UN staffer passed an internal report on the allegations to French authorities, who launched their own inquiry. The staffer was suspended for leaking confidential information, but temporarily reinstated on Wednesday by the United Nations Dispute Tribunal pending a full review of the case.

That’s already chock full of WTF-ery, but on top of that, the media has apparently decided to designate this a “sex for food scandal” (see Exhibit A, below).Screen shot 2015-05-08 at 7.50.51 AMIt strikes me as just a touch… something (sanitizing? anodyne? dishonest?) to refer to it this way. Surely forcing children to perform sex acts for food (or for any reason) is in fact a “child rape scandal”.

But further investigation reveals that this is the standard practice for discussing sexual abuse of indigent children by peacekeepers, apparently because the wordplay on “oil for food” is just tooooo tempting. See Exhibits B-E: former “sex for food” scandals in 2002 (West Africa), 2004 (DRC), 2006 (Liberia), and 2011 (Côte d’Ivoire).

It really says it all that we have enough datapoints on this to infer a pattern, doesn’t it?

 

Kate Cronin-Furman

2 Comments

  1. I would like to know what the outcome of the investigation is. Thank you. Also I would like to know if there is someone that I can contact regarding this issue.

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