iNews on 'peace babies': research from the PPSEA project
A recent article published by iNews highlights the perspectives of women subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the difficulties faced by peacekeeper-fathered children. This piece, produced by Victoria Craw, was made possible by research conducted by the Peacekeeper Perpetrated Sexual Exploitation and Abuse project, with contributions from Dr Kirstin Wagner (University of Birmingham, UK), Ms Heather Tasker (York Universityin Canada) and Professor Sabine Lee (University of Birmingham).
This article shows how SEA is an endemic issue in peacekeeping missions. It includes the testimonies of mothers and their children to show how poverty and stigma has affected their lives as a consequence of peacekeeper perpetrated SEA and abandonment. Girls as young as 13 and 14 were lured into transactional sex with peacekeepers for small amounts of cash and food. The impact of these relations was far-reaching, not only for the girls, but their peacekeeper children, families and communities. Social connections were damaged or severed, as victimised girls were held responsible for their circumstances by their communities, and left socially isolated. Without economic support, some turned to "survival sex" for money to raise their children. This article provides insight into the personal shame felt by children fathered by peacekeepers and their sense of longing to meet their fathers. Many survivors of peacekeeper perpetrated SEA are dubious of the UN and its ability to tackle SEA and provide them with appropriate support.
This work draws attention to the inadequate transparency of the UN, and the lack of accountability of UN member states whose troops have engaged in sexual exploitation and abuse. Researchers demand more action from the UN to support women and children impacted by UN perpetrated SEA. Campaigners demand that more is done to end peacekeeper SEA, especially by wealthy nations in the UN Security Council. Please click here to read more.
(Photo: Peacekeeper Perpetrated Sexual Exploitation and Abuse research project)