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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Aid Givers, UN Called Abusive

LONDON -- A Save the Children U.K. report released Tuesday alleges rampant sexual abuse of children at the hands of UN and other peacekeepers and international aid workers in war zones and disaster areas.

The report said more than half the children interviewed knew of cases of coerced sex and improper sexual touching and that in many instances children knew of 10 or more such incidents.

In some cases, children as young as six years old were abused, the report said.

The study is based on research, confidential interviews and focus groups conducted last year in three places with a substantial international aid presence: southern Sudan, Haiti, and Ivory Coast.

The group said it did not produce comprehensive statistics about the scale of abuse.

"The report shows sexual abuse has been widely underreported because children are afraid to come forward," said Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children U.K.

The report details many types of abuse allegedly committed, including trading food for sex, coerced sex, improper touching and kissing, forced prostitution and using children for pornographic purposes.

The researchers found an "overwhelming" majority interviewed would never report abuse and had never heard of a case being reported.