UN peacekeepers involved in prostitution in Bosnia

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 13:09:28 +0100

Bosnia: brothel raid

Twenty-five-year-old, "Olympia" has been bought and sold seven times in
the past nine months. Until two weeks ago she was working as a
prostitute in a bar in Bosnia - one of an estimated 2000 women in the
sex trade that has burgeoned across the Balkans.

Olympia's story is typical: in September last year she was lured from
her home village in Romania to a town near the Serbian border with the
prospect of a highly paid job. From there she was kidnapped and taken to
a bar in Serbia, where she was held against her will before being
shipped on to Bosnia, where she was again sold for sex.

What's of particular interest in Olympia's story is the detail of her
client base. The majority were local, some of them policemen, but a
sizeable number of the customers at the brothel in which she was held
were Americans, British and other foreigners, many of them thought to
have been serving with the United Nations peace-keeping force in Bosnia.

It's a fact of life that some men use prostitutes, but what's causing
growing concern in the region is the emerging evidence that members of
the UN have also become involved in helping to organise the sex trade.

A report due to be published next month by the Washington-based justice
organisation, Human Rights Watch, will document a series of cases in
which peace-keepers are accused of collusion with traffickers.

Last month the UN's former chief human rights officer for the Tusla
region gave evidence to the US Congress that some peacekeepers are
"knowingly involved in the trade in partnership with organised crime."
And an industrial tribunal in Britain has also been hearing evidence
from a policewoman serving under the UN who has blown the whistle on her
colleagues and is now claiming unfair dismissal against her employers.

The UN itself has admitted that 15 international police officers were
expelled or voluntarily left Bosnia after facing allegations of
involvement in trafficking. It has stepped up its efforts to bring the
traffickers to book and has imposed a stricter code of practice for
employees.

There are still serious questions surrounding the effectiveness of the
policing operation on the ground, and the lack of transparency over the
way in which the UN has investigated previous cases in which its
personnel have been implicated.

Source: BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/fileon4.shtml

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