Sexual misconduct

Oxfam hit by sexual misconduct allegations, to meet British government

The government threatened to cut off aid to the British charity after news report said aid workers paid for sex while on a mission in Haiti.

International charity Oxfam will meet the British government’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt over allegations of sexual misconduct by its aid workers in Haiti, BBC reported on Monday.

Former aid workers Oxfam, one of Britain’s biggest charities, in Haiti have been accused of paying for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the 2010 earthquake, Reuters reported.

While the accusations go back to 2011, it has been in the news after the Times published a report about it on Friday.

The report said Oxfam’s country director for Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, allegedly had prostitutes over at a villa Oxfam rented for him. The report said Oxfam knew about the allegations and even launched an internal investigation that led to four aid workers being dismissed and three others, including van Hauwermeiren, resigning.

In its report about the allegations, Oxfam said “serious misconduct” had taken place in Haiti, without going into the details.

After the report came out on Friday, Oxfam denied trying to cover up any of these allegations, BBC said. Mordaunt, however, told BBC that Oxfam had failed in its “moral leadership” over the “scandal”, and that it did “absolutely the wrong thing” by not reporting details of the allegations.

Ahead of the meeting with the government, Oxfam announced measures to prevent sexual abuse cases and improve the way they are handled.

Oxfam is dealing with the fallout of the allegations, as more reports emerged on Sunday about similar misconduct by aid workers in Chad, The Guardian reported. The report said former staff who worked in Chad alleged prostitutes were repeatedly invited to the Oxfam team house and a senior member had been fired for his behaviour in 2006. van Hauwermeiren was head of Oxfam in Chad at the time, the report said.

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