Aid workers swapped wheat for sex as they exploited children in crisis zones

Aid workers swapped wheat for sex as they exploited children in crisis zones, the Sunday Mirror can reveal.

A probe alleged humanitarians were trading bulgur wheat, life-saving medicines, ration cards, tarpaulins and oil “in exchange for sex with girls under 18”.
Some were asked to pose naked for pictures, rooms were rented for sex and a list of abusers was said to include aid workers, government officials, UN peacekeepers, refugee leaders and teachers.
Details of alleged abuse in Africa were published in a dire warning a DECADE before Oxfam chiefs were accused of paying prostitutes in earthquake-hit Haiti.
The 2001 report claims abuse was rife in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Orphan girls aged just 13 were targeted.
Researchers said security forces pooled cash to have sex with children while aid workers withheld provisions for children “until sex is proffered”.
One girl in Liberia told investigators: “It’s difficult to escape the trap of those people. They use food as bait to get you to have sex with them.”
And another in Guinea, referring to lifesaving supplies of a soya nutrient, revealed: “They say ‘a kilo for sex’.”
Details of the 2001 report revealed by the Mirror today make disturbing reading.
The probe by the UNHCR and Save the Children UK stated: “The exchange of sex for money or gifts appear widespread and the majority of children consulted said they knew of at least one other child involved in such an exchange.
“The children felt this was often the only option to receive food, other basic necessities and to pay for education.
“Parents also felt there were no other options for their family to secure a livelihood and, whilst not approving of it, generally turned a blind eye.
“In some cases, however, it was reported that parents encouraged their daughters to engage in such activities to bring in income into the family. The majority of children involved are girls between the age of 13 and 18 years.
“Younger girls were sometimes befriended by men to gain access to their older sisters or to their mothers.”
More than 40 aid agencies and 67 individuals – mostly local staff – were named by children in West Africa as abusers.
The study of more than 1,500 people revealed a lack of senior and international staff in camps allowed junior agency staff to “behave with impunity”.
It said aid workers were the “most frequent sex exploiters of children, often using the very humanitarian aid and services intended to benefit the refugee population as a tool of exploitation”.
Agency drivers exchanged sex for lifts, while girls were given jobs and a salary in exchange for sexual favours, it was said.
One police officer said Paddys bar in Freetown, Sierra Leone, was used by aid workers to solicit local women for sex – while in another community peacekeepers reportedly rented a room and used it for “sex with teenagers”.
The report went on: “Peacekeepers are alleged to have sexually exploited children in exchange for money and food.
“It is claimed some very young children have been asked to pose naked in exchange for biscuits, cake powder and other food items. Some are alleged to have had sex with the girls without using condoms. Peacekeepers reportedly pay from US $5 to $300 for sex with children. Some are alleged to pool money to obtain a girl and then all have sex with the child.
“Certain battalions used a locally well-known phrase ‘jig jig 5 block’ to procure sex from girls in their early teens.”

The report comes just days after shamed Oxfam chief Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, admitted bedding a woman in crisis-hit Haiti in 2010 while supplying her family with baby milk and nappies.
The Belgian stepped down the following year and Oxfam has now been barred from receiving new Government funding until it puts its house in order.
Mr van Hauwermeiren admitted having intimate relations at a villa rented by the charity.
In an open letter he said: “I am not perfect, I am not a saint – a man of flesh and blood, and have made mistakes and I am deeply ashamed.”
On Thursday he insisted he never slept with prostitutes in Haiti, Chad or Liberia – but said he was sacked for attending a party where two vice girls were present.
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