For several years, United Nations peacekeeping forces have kept a presence in the genocidal hotbed of Bosnia and Herzegovina, assisting in everything from delivering food to distributing medical supplies. In between all this overt heroism, some U.N. officers have been accused of having sex with 14-year-old prostitutes.
Such an incident of poor judgment allegedly occurred recently when U.N. officers conducted bar raids in search of prostitutes, engaged in "inappropriate behavior" with young hookers and were yanked from the mission and sent home.
According to news reports, the raids were an attempt to crack down on organized prostitution rings in Kosovo. Women from countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Romania often pass through Bosnia, get stuck there working as prostitutes and lose their passports to sleazy brothel owners. Because the problem is so widespread, the U.N. officers formed a specialized unit just for human trafficking and prostitution called the International Police Task Force.
Last month, the IPTF roared to life and an estimated 300 police officers and peacekeepers swept through towns in Kosovo, breaking down the doors of private homes and businesses. Showing no partisanship, they conducted the raids on brothels owned by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians, and made several arrests.
Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the U.N. was forced to admit that during nightclub raids in the Bosnian-Serbian town of Prijedor, in the process of rescuing 33 women from working as hookers, the arresting officers allegedly helped themselves to a little of what they were supposed to be preventing.
After the raid, the owner of the clubs, Milorad Milakovic, held a press conference and claimed the U.N. officers had physically and sexually abused his female dancers, some of whom were as young as 14. Milakovic also accused U.N. police of attempting to blackmail him by asking for protection bribes.
After investigating the claims, the U.N. singled out six officers and sent them home. As Alun Roberts, U.N. spokesman in Banja Luka, delicately explained to the Associated Press, "The six were removed for exceeding their duties in the U.N. mandate and also for inappropriate behavior and violation of the U.N. mission code of conduct."
The six officers were not identified, and the U.N.'s investigation continues. Meanwhile, Milakovic has already reopened one of his clubs.