LONDON An international watchdog must be set up to deal with child sex abuse by aid workers and peacekeepers, a charity has urged.
Save the Children demanded action after its research found that children as young as 6 were trading sex for food, money, soap and even mobile phones in warzones and disaster areas.
It said that all organisations had their share of abusers involved in "some of the most despicable abuse against some of the world's most vulnerable children". The scale of abuse was "significant" and victims were being let down by "endemic failures" in responding to the incidences that were reported, it concluded.
Better reporting mechanisms should be introduced, it said, as well as efforts made to strengthen child protection systems across the globe.
Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children UK chief executive, said: "All humanitarian and peacekeeping agencies working in emergency situations, including Save the Children UK, must own up to the fact that they are vulnerable to this problem and tackle it head on."