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It wouldn't be the first time. If UN personnel have, as alleged, been molesting children in southern Sudan, they will be following in a long tradition of abuse. Around the world, UN officials have run smuggling and prostitution rings, stolen and sold supplies, and traded food for sex. Sometimes, the racket becomes institutionalised, as when UN contractors collaborated with Ba'athists on the oil-for-food boondoggle. More often, the organisation is greedy and self-serving, but stops short of outright corruption. We learnt this week, for example, that the UN has voted £2.5 million to refurbish the secretary-general's residence in New York (Ban Ki-moon and his wife are being put up in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in the meantime).