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25 Sep, 2016 07:31

Female volunteers accused of having sex with migrants in Calais 'Jungle'

Female volunteers accused of having sex with migrants in Calais 'Jungle'

A man has accused female volunteers working at the Calais Jungle of having sex with migrants, including underage boys, at the refugee camp on the French coast, the Independent reported.

Some unpaid charity workers are believed to be forging sexual relationships with adult refugees at the notorious Calais camp in northern France, according to Independent, which uncovered the scandal. Leaders of charity organizations say they are concerned about “predatory behavior” by both male and female volunteers, while others claim it is “natural” under the circumstances. 

The issue was raised during a heated online thread on a Facebook account called Calais – People to People Solidarity, in which the man posted.

The post was quickly deleted, but Independent journalists said they managed to save a copy of the discussion.

During the debate, the male volunteer, who the paper did not mention by name, wrote that he had been aware of “volunteers having sex with multiple partners in one day, only to carry on in the same vein the following day. And I know also, that I’m only hearing a small part of a wider scale of abuse."

“I have heard of boys, believed to be under the age of consent, having sex with volunteers,” he added as cited by the paper.

According to the man who made the allegations, the majority of the cases involved intercourse between female volunteers and male asylum seekers.

“Female volunteers having sex enforces the view [that many have] that volunteers are here for sex. This impression objectifies women in the camp and increases the risks," he suggested.

The man expressed belief that by having sex the volunteers exploited the migrants, who are “in an entirely unequal position of power” and “entirely dependent on the aid that is provided by volunteers”.

“Sex from a person who is in a position of power or influence, in such a one-sided affair, especially where it is perceived that aid or better aid can be gained from it, that it is, and can be defined as sexual abuse,” the man said.

His allegations caused a wave of angry comments. He was slammed for being “patronizing and paternalistic with added sexism and racism,” the Independent reported.

“I find the assertion that women choosing to have sex encourages rape quite frankly disturbing,” one of the female users wrote.

However, many agreed that sex between volunteers and refugees is a serious issue, which should be solved, but not covered up.

The developments in Calais are “pretty much no different to sex tourism," one of the commentators stressed.

READ MORE: Child refugees in Calais ‘Jungle’ are ‘giving up’ on reaching Britain

The Independent contacted other aid groups working at Calais Jungle, who confirmed the online accusations had grounds.

Founder of Care4Calais, Clare Mosely, said a male volunteer was recently kicked out form the camp his “inappropriate behavior with female refugees.”

According to Auberge des Migrants group, a female British volunteer with a “bad reputation” was asked to leave Calais for having sex with multiple migrants.

The aid groups said that it is impossible for them to impose strict rules due to the ‘Jungle’, which hosts around 9,000 people, being an illegal camp. Many volunteers also arrive in Jungle independently from any organization.

Following the news, the UN’s Refugee Agency urged the charities in Calais to impose "zero tolerance" policies towards any form exploitation in order to maintain the "integrity" of volunteer work.