Oxfam admits staff engaged in sexual misconduct during Haiti quake relief effort

10 February, 2018, 09:48 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Oxfam admits that several of his co-workers hired prostitutes after the Haiti earthquake

In a statement, it said: "The behaviour of some members of Oxfam staff uncovered in Haiti in 2011 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff".

One source claimed to have seen footage of a "full-on Caligula orgy" with girls in Oxfam T-shirts although this did not form a part of the 2011 report by the charity which did state that "it can not be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged".

"These allegations are deeply shocking and Oxfam must now provide the Charity Commission with all the evidence they hold of events that happened in Haiti as a matter of urgency", Matt Hancock, the culture secretary, said according to the Times.

Three Oxfam employees were allowed to resign and four were sacked for gross misconduct after an internal investigation found some workers had used prostitutes in the war-torn region.

The move follows growing pressure on the charity after an investigation by The Times found young sex workers were hired by senior staff in Haiti after the 2010 quake which devastated the island and left up to 300,000 people dead.

The Times of London's investigation, which was published Thursday (local time), also detailed allegations that Oxfam's country director used prostitutes, as part of the raft of misconduct alleged to have occurred while the organisation deployed to help the reeling island nation recover after a devastating 2010 quake.

Roland Van Hauwermeiren of Belgium, the country director in Haiti for Britain-based Oxfam until 2011, admitted to hiring prostitutes.


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Oxfam informed the Charity Commission about the broad nature of the allegations but without specific detail and failed to provide the watchdog with a final report.

"These girls wearing Oxfam T-shirts, running around half-naked, it was like a full-on Caligula orgy". The aid workers were there to provide relief after the 2010 Haiti quake.

She said: "We are now engaged with the charity regarding its approach to safeguarding following more recent allegations".

There were 87 cases of alleged sexual exploitation in Oxfam between 2016 and 2017.

The French charity told the paper it made pre-employment checks but that Oxfam "did not share with us any warning regarding (his) unethical conduct, the reasons for his resignation or the results of internal inquiry".

Oxfam insisted allegations that underage girls may have been involved were not proven. "We will take forceful and immediate action pending the outcome of the investigation".

"After the investigation, we carried out a thorough review of the case which resulted in the creation of our dedicated Safeguarding Team and a confidential 'whistleblowing" hotline as part of a package of measures to ensure that we do all we can to protect our staff, prevent sexual abuse and misconduct happening in the first place and improve how we handle any allegations'.


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