Eight displaced women living in Burkina Faso’s northern town of Kaya told The New Humanitarian they were approached for sex by local men – some of them community leaders – who said they were registering people in need of food aid. More than a dozen other women said they had been asked for cash in exchange for having their names added to the lists.

The women’s accounts echo others that government officials and aid workers told The New Humanitarian they were aware of. Yet aid organisations and the government – which maintains a tight grip over humanitarian operations in the country, and prevents journalists from accessing the displacement camps – have been slow to put measures in place to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse. Aid workers and officials said issues affecting women and girls have taken a backseat in the wider emergency response.

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