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Trust Fund helps victims and children born of sexual abuse, appeals for continued support

Information on the projects and the positive impact they are having on the lives of victims, and children born as a result of sexual exploitation, are contained within the fund’s fifth annual report released earlier this week, covering 2022. 

Contributions to the Trust Fund can be made by governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, private institutions, or individuals.

“The Secretariat is grateful to the 24 Member States which support the Trust Fund and looks forward to continued contributions.  I encourage Member States and others to contribute,” said Catherine Pollard, UN Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC).

Rebuilding lives

Since its establishment in 2016, the Trust Fund has received $4.8 million in contributions from Member States and from payments withheld from personnel against whom sexual exploitation and abuse cases have been substantiated.

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“This has helped fund assistance and support services to victims and children born of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN and related personnel”, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents in New York.

So far, over 43,000 affected victims and community members have participated in income-generating activities or received various forms of support. Additional funding will help victims and their children rebuild their lives, break stigma, and facilitate reintegration within their communities”, he added.

New projects in the pipeline

In the seven years since it was set up, the Trust Fund has financed 17 projects which are either completed or still being implemented.

In 2022, six Trust Fund projects got underway in locations affected by political and other insecurity as well as environmental disasters, including earthquakes and floods.

The projects were implemented in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti, Liberia, and South Sudan.  They provided support for 1,224 direct beneficiaries.

In April 2023, the Trust Fund’s Review Committee approved 12 new projects to be carried out in the CAR, the DRC, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, Myanmar, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Around $2.3 million required

An estimated $2.3 million will be needed for these newly approved projects. 

As of this May, the Trust Fund has disbursed/committed more than $2.7 million for completed or ongoing projects.

The Secretariat has appealed for voluntary financial contributions to the Trust Fund and seeks to raise $3 million for the 12 projects that were recently approved and to prepare for the next proposal cycle.

Women in South Sudan have benefitted from the Trust Fund.
© CDS/Yasna Uberoi

Women in South Sudan have benefitted from the Trust Fund.

Supporting income generation

The Trust Fund was created by Secretary-General António Guterres in 2016 to strengthen the response and support of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. To avoid stigmatization, beneficiaries include not only victims but also those at risk, or who are in the most vulnerable situations in their communities.

The fund provides for a wide range of assistance for victims.  This includes immediate assistance such as medical care and psychosocial support, to longer term projects such as vocational training and income-generating activities, as well as assistance with school fees for children born out of exploitation and abuse.

Victims experience harmful consequences which go well beyond the psychological and the physical.

Stigmatization common

They are often stigmatized by their families and community members, and may be abandoned without support to provide for themselves. To address this, Trust Fund projects support income generation by providing victims with knowledge and tools which empower them to become economically active and self-sustaining.  

According to one beneficiary in the DR Congo: “After attending a sewing workshop and business training.  I was able to elaborate a business plan.  The trainers will continue to coach us.  Now, after a few months, I can support myself and my family.”

Schooling support

The provision of educational support to children born of sexual exploitation or abuse is another very important of the Trust Fund and is carried out in several countries.

According to a beneficiary living in Haiti: “With this project, my child’s schooling has been paid without any difficulty.  The support also provide food for my child during the whole school year.”

The Fund also supports community outreach to raise the local population’s awareness of their rights and of support available to them.

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