The United Nations knew of charity workers offering refugees food in exchange for sexual favours for more than a decade, it has been revealed.
An 84-page report on ‘food-for-sex’ practices in West African refugee camps was compiled and handed over to the UN in 2002, but was never published.
It claims that workers at more than 40 aid organisations, of which 15 are major international charities including Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières, sexually exploited young refugees.
The 2002 research document allege that ‘food, oil, access to education and plastic sheeting for shelters’ were exchanged for sex, according to The Times.
The newspaper, which has been given access to the report, reveal that families living in refugee camps in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia allegedly offered charity workers their teenage daughter for sex ‘to make ends meet’.
According to The Sun, charity workers in a camp in Guinea would tell women ‘a kilo of flour for sex’.
‘In this community no one can get corn soy blend [a fortified pre-cooked flour] without having sex first.’
Despite the report resulting in a list of 67 charity workers accused of sexually exploiting refugee children begin handed over to senior officials at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), none were prosecuted.
The Times reports that the people were dismissed, but the findings remained confidential.
It comes after revelations that Oxfam covered up that several of its senior aid workers had been paying survivors of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake for sex.
Three Oxfam employees were allowed to resign and four were sacked for gross misconduct after an internal investigation found some workers had used prostitutes in the war-torn region. Questions had been raised whether the women may have been under-age, but this could not be ascertained.
In early August 2011, it was reported a ‘small number’ of employees were being investigated over allegations of gross misconduct, however there was no mention of potential sexual crimes involving minors.