Following a study in Liberia, Save the Children has reported finding the exploitation of children by humanitarian workers, peacekeepers and local businessmen to be prolific. The study was conducted in temporary camps for those displaced by the civil war and amongst those recently repatriated to their towns and villages of origin after the end of the war.
Despite commitments made in 2002 by non governmental organizations, the United Nations and peacekeepers to improve the worldwide monitoring of recruitment and staff conduct, vulnerable children are still exchanging sex for basic necessities such as money to attend school or food to feed their families.
During the study in Liberia, children and members of the community consistently reported that a high proportion of girls in their camps were being sexually exploited by adults in positions of power. They reported that adults providing humanitarian assistance, peacekeepers and wealthy individuals regularly buy under-age sex.
While welcoming the new Liberian Government’s commitment to stamp out corruption and rape, Save the Children has urged resident Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf to tackle the high levels of sexual exploitation of children.
Representatives of Government Ministries, International NGOs, UN agencies and UNMIL representatives in Liberia gathered in May 2006 to urgently and collectively address this issue.
In March 2006 a collective of international NGOs, of which Save the Children is a key partner, launched a new set of materials (“Keeping Children Safe”) to enable all NGOs to attain high standards of child protection.