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Investigation Finds Syrian Women Being Sexually Exploited In Return For Aid

According to a report, “Voices from Syria 2018,” Syrian women are being sexually exploited on a large scale by men delivering aid on behalf of the United Nations and international charities. The survey found that humanitarian workers have been trading food for sexual favors, for example, a practice so widespread that some Syrian women have altogether stopped going to aid distribution centers over fear they will be abused. Conducted by the United Nations Population Fund, the investigation uncovered examples of “women or girls marrying officials for a short period of time for ‘sexual services’ in order to receive meals,” and distributors offering assistance “in exchange for services, such as spending a night with them.” According to the authors, despite warnings about such sexual abuse three years ago little effort has been made to curb its incidence. The revelations come just days after a former high-level UN official, Andrew MacLeod, publicly called on the global body to be more transparent about sexual abuse by its aid workers, which he said has claimed as many as 60,000 victims over the past decade. That accusation coincided with the leak of an internal inquiry by Oxfam—an international confederation of 20 non-governmental bodies—which found that some of its staff members sent to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake engaged in criminal behavior ranging from sexual abuse to fraud.