Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Oxfam pressed over claims its aid staff in Haiti used prostitutes

Oxfam pressed over claims its aid staff in Haiti used prostitutes

It has written to Oxfam "as a matter of urgency" seeking more information, including a timeline of events, information about when the charity was made aware of specific allegations and the detail of the investigation's findings and conclusions.

"We have full confidence that this matter was dealt with appropriately at the time, and it has no relevance whatsoever for Barbara Stocking's current role as President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge".

"Several staff members were dismissed as a result of investigation and ors left organization before it was completed", representative said.

"Of course we take that very seriously, which is why those people lost their jobs", she said. The country, one of the poorest in the world, was struggling to recover from the quake, and the organization's lawyers advised that, given the circumstances, "the police would not deal with it at that time".

The charity also said that legal advice it received at the time was that if it had reported the allegations to police "it was extremely unlikely that reporting these incidents to the police would lead to any action being taken".

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) said Oxfam's leaders "showed a lack of judgment" in the way they investigated the case and in communicating with the government and the British commission that control humanitarian organizations.

Groups of young prostitutes were invited to homes and guesthouses paid for by the charity for sex parties, according to one source who claimed to have seen footage of an orgy with sex workers wearing Oxfam t-shirts.

One of Britain's largest charities is under fire following an investigation into claims of sexual exploitation of underage girls by senior aid workers in Haiti.

"Oxfam has not and would not provide a positive reference for any of those that were dismissed or resigned as a result of the case", the charity said.

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Four employees were fired and three others, including Roland van Hauwermeiren, resigned before the end of the internal investigation, said Oxfam.

British government officials want to review documents linked to Oxfam staffers involved in the sex scandal with Haitian prostitutes after the island's 2010 natural disaster.

"We will expect the charity to provide us with assurance that it has learnt lessons from past incidents and is taking all necessary steps to safeguard all who come into contact with it", the Charity Commission spokeswoman said.

The organization said allegations that some prostitutes were underage were not substantiated.

However, the spokesman acknowledged that the vast majority of staff had not been involved and that the department often worked with organizations operating in hard circumstances.

'If wrongdoing, abuse, fraud, or criminal activity occur we need to know about it immediately, in full.

"We have a zero tolerance policy for the type of activity that took place in this instance, and we expect our partners to as well", the spokesman added.

The charity said it launched an immediate investigation in 2011 which found a "culture of impunity" among some staff but has denied trying to cover up the scandal.

'We are now engaged with the charity regarding its approach to safeguarding following more recent allegations.

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