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June-29-00

Thousands of Girls Raped And Enslaved In Sierra Leone

The raping and enslavement of women and children were rampant during Sierra Leone's eight years of civil war, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch and U.N. groups. Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels seized and repeatedly raped girls as young as 10 years of age, coercing them into sexual slavery and often infecting them with sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. Although last July's peace accord sparked false hope for an end to the atrocities against women, the rebels' instigation of conflict in May has again endangered the lives of women and children. In Freetown alone, more than 4,500 children - nearly 60 percent girls - were reported missing after RUF's invasion in 1995.

Media Resources: Associated Press, Washington Post, 27 June 2000

   

     

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