Welcome to the United Nations

Addressing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is fully committed to implementing the policy of “zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)”. This policy is enshrined in the Secretary-General’s system-wide strategy to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, which he launched in his report on “Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach”, dated 28 February 2017.

SEA includes any sexual activity with minors or any actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions; any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. This includes acts of transactional sex, solicitation of transactional sex, and exploitative relationships. In addition, military and police personnel in most of our missions have non-fraternization policies making relations with beneficiaries of assistance a breach of the standards of conduct. 

The strategy has four main areas of action: 1) putting victims first; 2) ending impunity; 3) engaging civil society and external partners; and 4) improving strategic communications for education and transparency. In coordination with other departments and under the lead of the Special Coordinator on improving the United Nations response to sexual exploitation and abuse, DPPA is contributing to the development of tools and mechanisms aiming at enhancing system’s capacity to tackle the SEA scourge. For more details on SEA prevention, role of the Special Coordinator, the Victim Rights Advocate as well as Special Political Missions and Peacekeeping Operations and Agencies, Funds and Programmes could be found at: https://www.un.org/preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse

Based on the departmental action plan, DPPA works closely with the office of the Special Coordinator,  DMSPC, the Victim Rights Advocate as well as other organizations of the UN System for ensuring a coherent approach across the system for the full implementation of the activities detailed in the areas of action.

The infographic below describes how allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving UN personnel are addressed and managed:


Data on allegations related to Special Political Missions

In the case of Special Political Missions, when information about allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse is received, it is assessed by the respective Heads of Missions, by DOS/DPPA and/or by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). In a continuous manner, reconciliation of the information received by the various entities takes place, which aims to confirm whether information received refers to new allegations.

Record keeping and data tracking of allegations of misconduct commenced in 2006. By July 2008, DFS launched the Misconduct Tracking System (MTS) which is a global, restricted-access database and confidential tracking system for all allegations of misconduct. The MTS is managed by the Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU) in DFS and it facilitates case management and information sharing between field missions and CDU.

Updates to the data on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are made once reconciliation and assessment of information has been completed, or when information has been received on the outcome of investigations or actions taken in response to substantiated allegations.

In order to receive notifications when a new case has been added to the database, you are encouraged to subscribe through the following link: https://conduct.unmissions.org/subscribe


Useful links

To access the Report of the Secretary-General on Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach: https://undocs.org/A/71/818 

To report wrongdoing and misconduct: https://oios.un.org/page?slug=reporting-wrongdoinghttps://conduct.unmissions.org/report-misconduct