United Nations peacekeepers fathered hundreds of children while deployed in Haiti then abandoned their young mothers to lives of poverty, a new report claims.
The study into the UN’s longest peacekeeping mission said girls as young as 11 would trade sex for food or ‘a few coins’ so they could survive amid political turmoil and the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
After being sexually abused and impregnated they were ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone, The Times reported.
The problem was so prevalent that locals even had a name for it.
Children fathered by UN aid workers were reportedly nicknamed ‘Petit Minustah’ – after the acronym for the mission to the country between 2004 and 2017, United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti.
The research team was led by Sabine Lee, from the University of Birmingham, and they conducted more than 2,500 interviews with people living close to UN bases in the country between June and August 2017.
UN babies was raised as an issue, with no prompting, more than 250 times, the newspaper said.
Soldiers from 12 countries have been identified as having fathered babies and abandoned them, the research claims.
Professor Lee said it was impossible to state a definitive number of peacekeeper-fathered children, but added that ‘most researchers and NGO officials would agree that hundreds is a credible estimate’.
‘It’s a pervasive issue, not isolated cases,’ she continued.
‘The multitude of stories and the fact that sexual exploitation, abuse and the existence and abandonment of peacekeeper-fathered children appeared over and over again in the stories indicates that this is a very significant problem.’
It is not the first time the UN’s Haiti mission in Haiti has been embroiled in controversy.
Troops from Nepal inadvertently sparked a cholera outbreak which claimed 10,000 lives following the natural disaster in 2010.
Child sex allegations then saw 114 Sri Lankan soldiers sent home from the country.
A UN Peacekeeping spokeswoman condemned the ‘egregious behaviour’ of some of its workers, but told The Times it was working alongside member states to tackle the ‘crippling issue’ around the world.