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A sign at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Eighty-three aid workers, including 21 World Health Organization employees, were involved in sex abuse and exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during an Ebola crisis there, an independent commission announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The probe follows a report by Reuters and The New Humanitarian, in which 51 women accused aid workers of demanding sex in exchange for jobs from 2018 to 2020.

  • "The review team has established that the presumed victims were promised jobs in exchange for sexual relations or in order to keep their jobs," commission member Malick Coulibaly told a press briefing.

Details: Many of the perpetrators refused to wear condoms and 29 women became pregnant. Some were forced to abort by their abusers, Coulibaly said. The victims were in a "precarious social and economic situation."

What they're saying: "I'm sorry for what was done to you who are employed by WHO to serve and protect you," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.

  • "What happened to you should never happen to anyone," he added. "It is inexcusable. It is my top priority to ensure that the perpetrators are not excused but are held to account."

What's next: It is not clear if the perpetrators will be prosecuted, Reuters notes.

  • Tedros said he will refer the rape allegations to Congo and to the countries of the alleged perpetrators.

Go deeper

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Singer R. Kelly on Monday was found guilty of racketeering and eight counts of violating an anti-sex trafficking law, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Sexual misconduct allegations have surrounded R. Kelly's career, including a child sexual abuse image case in 2008 in which he was acquitted. Multiple other victims have come forward to speak about the abuse in recent years.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

2 hours ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.