Monday, 26 February, 2018

Minnie Driver quits as Oxfam ambassador over charity sex scandal

This Morning ITVEamonn Holmes LOSES IT with Oxfam's Tim Hunter
Ellis Copeland | 14 February, 2018, 18:46

Minnie Driver has quit her role as an ambassador for British charity Oxfam which is embroiled in a growing prostitution scandal.

The deputy head of the charity resigned on Monday, saying Oxfam had failed to adequately respond to past allegations of sexual misconduct by some staff in Chad and Haiti.

Britain warned on Wednesday it would cut off ties with foreign aid charities that cover up sex scandals after revelations involving Oxfam, which has seen a spate in cancellations of donations.

She had previously travelled to countries like Cambodia and Thailand to promote Oxfam's work.

The Good Will Hunting star said she was "nothing short of horrified" by the allegations against the charity.

However, she added that the "abhorrent mistakes of a troubling organization" would not stop her in her charity work.

Worldwide development secretary Penny Mordaunt has threatened funding will be withdrawn unless the charity sorts the issue out properly.

"Unless you report every serious incident or allegation, no matter how damaging to your reputation - we can not be partners", Britain's International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told a conference in Stockholm, according to extracts of her speech released by her ministry.

Helen Evans, who was in charge of investigating allegations against Oxfam staff members between 2012 and 2015, told Channel 4 television that abuse cases she had heard of included a woman who had been coerced to have sex in exchange for aid.

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A spokesperson for Oxfam praised Driver's commitment to the charity and to ending global poverty, adding: "Her decision to step down as an Oxfam Ambassador saddens us deeply, but we also understand and respect her choice".

Oxfam has neither confirmed nor denied that specific account but has said an internal investigation in 2011 had confirmed sexual misconduct had occurred and has apologised.

A hearing with the worldwide development select committee is scheduled for Tuesday next week.

Documents provided by Oxfam have led to further questions and suggest the charity might not have "fully and frankly disclosed material details about the allegations at the time", the Charity Commission said.

Former aid workers of Oxfam in Haiti have been accused of paying for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the 2010 natural disaster.

"We take sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults extremely seriously and do not tolerate any misconduct of this kind", he said.

But a report in the Times of London last week revealed that staff at Oxfam were organizing what was described as a "full-on Caligula orgy".

Other partners including Visa and Heathrow Airport also said they were examining the situation. "And compels us to take action".

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