July 1, 2003 – Associated Press
From correspondents in the United Nations
THE United Nations is investigating a report that a ship chartered for peacekeepers in East Timor is also being used to bring child prostitutes to the island nation, the organisation said today.
The allegations surfaced over the weekend in the Portuguese weekly Expresso. The Expresso report said UN personnel were involved in bringing girls from Thailand to East Timor as prostitutes.
“So far, some of the allegations are unsubstantiated,” said Hua Jiang, UN deputy spokeswoman. She would not elaborate or comment further on the status of the investigation being conducted by the UN’s office of internal oversight.
The same office investigated allegations last year of sexual exploitation of refugee children in West Africa by employees of more than 40 private aid organisations.
That report found the allegations largely unsubstantiated although they were raised in a report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.