Research agency says children and youth at SOS Kinderdorp Suriname have been exploited for years

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At least nineteen children and young adults have been victims of various forms of abuse over a period of more than thirty years in a children’s village run by SOS Children’s Villages in Suriname.

Source: Belga

Research agency Verinorm speaks out in a report of sexual, emotional, physical and financial abuse. These include rape, neglect and spanking and flogging.

SOS Children’s Villages started this research in 2021 after stories of violence and sexual abuse in children’s villages emerged. For the investigation, Verinorm used documents, among other things, and the research agency conducted 35 interviews with victims and former employees. It emerged that the abuse took place from the establishment of the Children’s Village in 1972 until its closure in 2006.

Five officers, nearly half, are said to have been guilty of misconduct. According to the report, this “creates the impression that the misconduct by the managers was structural in nature”. One of the officers was sentenced by the court to 3.5 years in prison for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.

In children’s villages, according to the researchers, there was “very little supervision, control and enforcement” and signs of abuse “are not taken seriously enough” by aid organisations.

“We think it’s terrible”

SOS Kinderdorpen says it “deeply regrets” the events in Suriname. “We are appalled that at that time we failed to protect all the children and youth in our programs in former SOS Children’s Villages Suriname. It goes against what we stand for as an organization. Naturally, we take all reports very seriously and treat them with respect and confidence.”

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