Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers as Conflict-Related Gender Violence


Vojdik, Valorie K. 2019. "Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers as Conflict-Related Gender Violence." In International Human Rights of Women, edited by Niamh Reilly, 405-21. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Author: Valorie K. Vojdik


For nearly 30 years, military and civilian peacekeepers across the globe have engaged in rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, trafficking, and sexual exploitation of women and children. The mechanisms for policing and punishing peacekeeper SEA have been inadequate, creating a culture of impunity. Rather than treat sexual exploitation and abuse as a crime committed by individual peacekeepers, as the UN has done, the international community must situate peacekeeper SEA within the gendered structures of power that help perpetuate conflict-related violence against women and girls. Peacekeeper SEA is rooted in unequal gender relations and poverty, exacerbated by the social and economic dislocations of war. Peacekeeping troops often engage in masculinized social practices that encourage sexual exploitation and gender violence against women and children. With the rise of new peacekeeping economies, peacekeepers often fuel the growth of prostitution and survival sex, harming the individual victims while reinforcing the inequality of women in post-conflict societies. To address peacekeeper SEA requires dismantling the structures of gender inequality and empowering women. It also requires transforming the institutional norms and practices that encourage and enforce masculinized violence by peacekeeping troops.

Keywords: sexual exploitation and abuse, peacekeeping, militarized masculinities, gender inequality, post-conflict

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Justice, Impunity, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women, Trafficking

Year: 2019

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at