French Government Investigates Military For Alleged Child Abuse
May 01, 2015 Eleanor Beardsley
The French government has promised a full investigation into allegations that its soldiers sexually abused local children while serving on a peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
The French government is investigating allegations that its soldiers abused children while serving as peacekeepers in Africa last year. The case has caused outrage and revulsion in France which places high value on both its military and its relations with its former colonies. The incidents in the Central African Republic were revealed when a United Nations report was leaked this week. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley has the story.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: The U.N. report gives detailed descriptions of how children were coerced or forced into sexual acts by some of the French soldiers sent to protect them. Some of the victims was young as 9. Many were orphaned boys. The report became public this week when it was leaked to aid groups who gave it to the press....
BEARDSLEY: The U.N. has launched its own investigation into the leaking of its human rights report about the abuse. The French government is still investigating reports of sexual abuse by its soldiers in Rwanda 21 years ago. General Dominique Trinquand is a former commander of French peacekeeping missions.
The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring
When Lara fell victim to the notorious Oxford child sex ring, her mother tried everything to save her. Now, the two tell Nick Harding how they're trying to put the past behind them
Monday 04 May 2015
....Lara was a victim of an infamous child sex trafficking ring based in Oxford. In 2013, seven members were jailed for a total of 95 years. She was one of six brave girls who gave evidence against their abusers. She was groomed from the age of 12 and for five years endured unimaginable physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Elizabeth frantically tried to save her and raise the authorities from an apathetic slumber, the type of which allowed similar gangs in Rochdale, Rotherham and other parts of the country to exploit young, vulnerable girls with impunity.
Lara was born to alcoholic parents. Her mother was a drug addict and a prostitute, her father was a sadistic alcoholic. Along with her four siblings, she was taken into care aged four. For the following six years, she tumbled through the care system, where she was sexually abused. Elizabeth adopted her when she was 10 and already deeply disturbed.
....As she progressed to secondary school, her behaviour worsened. She stayed out late, ran away from home and became violent. But instead of getting support and understanding, she was excluded from school. Elizabeth tried to get help and advice from Oxford social services.
"They refused and said it was not their problem as Lara did not come from Oxford," she explains. "I was saying very early on that I felt she needed therapeutic support to process what had happened to her. But social services didn't entertain it and felt she was just badly behaved. I was told she was a young person making choices, and although she was making the wrong sort of choices, she should be supported to make those choices regardless."
At 12, Lara came to the attention of a local drug dealer, Mohammed Karrar. He ran a crack den in a run-down part of Oxford. Manipulative and well versed in child grooming, he befriended Lara and she began to spend increasing amounts of time with him and his associates in the Cowley Road area of the city.
....Karrar gave his victim with alcopops and cigarettes and encouraged her to run away from home. Eventually, he encouraged her to take crack cocaine and began feeding her drugs. Soon after, he forced her to have sex with two men, demanding the act as payment for the drugs he had plied her with. He continued to feed her addiction, sold her to men around the country, beat her and threatened her and her family if she didn't do as he commanded.
In one incident when she was 14, Lara was imprisoned for eight hours in a guest house on a main road in Oxford and violently raped by Karrar's brother Bassam. Police were called by another guest, who heard her screams through the walls. Despite having witnesses and DNA evidence, it was decided not to pursue a prosecution when Lara declined to testify after being coerced by the gang.
....Girl for Sale' by Lara McDonnell (£6.99, Ebury Press) is out now