DR Congo II

Sexual Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers, February 2004

The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the most expensive in the world, costing over 2 million US Dollars a day to run. In May 2004, while on a photographic assignment in Bunia, I found out that UN soldiers in the town of Bunia, north eastern Congo, were sexually exploiting young girls – themselves victims of the war these soldiers had been sent to stop. The story was run as a feature in the Independent and, as a result, the UN launched numerous investigations.

Following the publication of this investigation Kofi Annan admitted “I am afraid there is clear evidence that acts of gross misconduct have taken place.

This is a shameful thing for the United Nations to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it,” For thousands of women in the Congo, however, prostituting themselves to UN soldiers is currently their only means of survival.

  • A young girl stands in front of a UN watch tower, situated 6 meters from her family's tent. Kate Holt.
  • A girl walks passed a Uruguayan soldier at the entrance of the IDP camp in Bunia. Kate Holt.
  • To ensure their children are fed, girls as young as 12 are being forced to sleep with UN peacekeeping soldiers. Kate Holt.
  • Extreme poverty in Congo's camps and towns, along with massive displacement. Kate Holt.
  • Woman and girls like Chantalle, widowed by the war, are being forced to sleep with UN personnel in order to survive. Kate Holt.
  • A house in Goma where five women and their children live. Kate Holt.
  • A young mother with her daughter in a tent they share with ten other families in the IDP camp. Kate Holt.
  • A girl and her baby in the IDP camp in Bunia. Kate Holt.
  • A young girl in the IDP camp in Bunia. Kate Holt.
  • A woman, who regularly sleeps with UN personnel to make an income, holds her daughter. Kate Holt.