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End Exploitation by United Nations Personnel


United Nations personnel, including staff persons, aid workers, and peacekeeping forces, are responsible for distributing much-needed humanitarian aid the world over. This humanitarian aid such as food, clothing, medical supplies, shelter, and money has been bartered for sex in what has become known as the "Sex for Food" scandal. This exploitation and abuse of women, children, and youth is a clear violation of the trust put in the United Nations to be a force of peace and goodwill.

It has been reported that these abusive acts have occurred in nations where UN personnel are active.

This problem has been the subject of several US government investigations and studies, including those conducted by the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committee and the Governmental Accountability Office. Bipartisan studies acknowledging the abuse and calling for necessary reform measures include:

  • Hope for Africa's Forgotten: A Report on the Fact-Finding Mission to Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Kenya, issued in 2005 by Senator Sam Brownback and Senator Richard Durbin;

  • The United States Institute for Peace's report titled, American Interest and UN Reform, prepared by Newt Gingrich and George Mitchell (This was a comprehensive task force on UN reform that not only reported the problem, but also the structural reasons within the UN that keep the problem from being adequately addressed.); and

  • The UN Independent Inquiry Committee.

Although the UN has passed resolutions calling for a zero tolerance policy, the fact remains that the UN has taken no substantive steps other than rhetoric to enforce their policy or hold offenders accountable. The United Methodist Church partners with the United Nations in many programs, treaties, and mission projects involving women, children, and youth, and thus has a great moral and practical interest in assuring the integrity of United Nations relief programs.

Therefore, The United Methodist Church calls on the United Nations and all member nations to implement the currently active zero tolerance policy on this issue in order to bring about an end to the abusive acts against women, children, and youth.


See Social Principles, ¶ 165D.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.