The Dark Side of Peacekeeping: the Un’s Role in Bosnian Sex Trafficking

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In the film “When the Peacekeepers Arrive,” the issue of sex trafficking in Bosnia is investigated and linked to the presence of international militarization forces beginning in 1995. Troops from the U.S., Germany, France, and the Netherlands established a military presence in Bosnia due to the Serbian-Bosnian conflict. Because of the influx of male soldiers in the area, the demand for prostitutes and their sexual services increased and the market for sex trafficking in the region exploded. According to LARA, U.S. soldiers created a free market called the “Arizona Market” where they could buy and sell goods, believing that bringing capitalistic practices into Bosnia would bring peace. However, many aspects of this “free market” were not-so free. The smuggling and trading of women for sex work was made easier due to the open market and posed a financial lure not only to the women who were trafficked, but also to the traffickers. Not only were women trafficked into the region, but night clubs and discotheques were customized for their clientele based on their nationality. German soldiers were catered-to with clubs named “Arche” and Americans found comfort visiting bars named “Chicago.” While German and Bosnian military personnel denied any inappropriate behavior on the part of their soldiers, in October of 2000 an American female UN officer discovered information quite to the contrary. She interviewed women who came to her office seeking help and uncovered an underground sex trafficking operation in the area which was frequented by male UN officers. After informing her UN superiors of this devastating issue, she was fired. The film addresses the issue of corruption and mismanagement in the international peacekeeping community; the UN is designed to help countries in crisis of war and conflict, not to create new human rights problems such as human trafficking. The insensitivity to female sex workers during brothel raids and interviews revealed...
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