Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Oxfam aid workers hired Haitian prostitutes, says report

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Ellis Copeland | 10 February, 2018, 04:01

British charity Oxfam condemned the behaviour of some former staff in Haiti after a report in The Times claimed that senior aid workers had paid for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the devastating 2010 natural disaster. As soon as we became aware of the allegations we immediately launched an internal investigation. They did say, however, that misconduct findings included "bullying, harassment, intimidation, and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct".

The regulator said it was never told that the allegations involved possible under-age sex and was not given access to the charity's final report.

"According to an investigation in The Times, Dame Barbara Stocking, 66, who was CEO of Oxfam at the time, offered the country director, Roland van Hauwermeiren, "a phased and dignified exit" because sacking him would have "potentially serious implications" for the charity's work and reputation".

The British newspaper has published that, after natural disaster that devastated Haiti in 2010, a senior office of organization hired young prostitutes.

Even before the latest allegations, Britain's government ordered Oxfam Friday to hand over files on implicated staff to the Charity Commission, which regulates the sector.

The Times quoted a source as saying one was party was "like a full on Caligula orgy", with girls wearing Oxfam T-shirts.

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Oxfam said that it did not report any of the incidents to the Haitian authorities because "it was extremely unlikely that any action would be taken".

In response to the report published by The Times, Oxfam released a public statement, which read, "The behavior 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".

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".

"The country director took full responsibility for events that took place under his management and was permitted to resign on the basis that he fully cooperated with and supported the investigation", the spokesman said. None of those accused has been arrested or faced any criminal charges.

"Allegations that underage girls may have been involved were not proven", Oxfam said, adding that four members of staff were dismissed as a result of the investigation and three resigned before the end of the investigation.

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