Staff at Western aid organizations sexually abusing women in Africa
Over 20 women in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accused aid workers working for the World Health Organization (WHO) of sexual abuse while providing assistance the central African nation.
WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for international public health.
UN investigators are now uncovering similar allegations of WHO workers raping and exploiting vulnerable women in the countries that they provide medical assistance.
The 22 women in Butembo, a city in eastern Congo, said male aid workers responding to an Ebola crisis offered them jobs in exchange for sex. Over 50 women in the nearby city of Beni made similar allegations last year.
Some of the Congolese women showed reporters their identification badges with WHO logos and photos of them doing jobs they said they were given after having sex with the men.
WHO and other Western and UN agencies have been facing widespread public allegations of systemic abuse of women by staffers.
Similar allegations have been made against men working for the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, the medical charity ALIMA, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the International Medical Corps (IMC).
Eight top WHO officials privately acknowledged WHO failed to effectively tackle sex abuse during the Ebola outbreak.
WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan acknowledged in internal meetings that sexual abuse problems during the agency's outbreak responses were unlikely to be exceptional.
"You can't just pin this and say you have one field operation that went badly wrong," he said. "This is in some sense the tip of an iceberg."