Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Oxfam condemns staff over sex reports in earthquake-hit Haiti

Oxfam sex exploitation prostitutes Haiti earthquake scandal corruption report news latest GETTYOxfam is one of the UK’s biggest charities which receives £300million a year in Government funds and
Patty Aguilar | 09 February, 2018, 16:58

A major global charity covered up its employees' sex parties including a "full-on Caligula orgy" with Haitian prostitutes who had just survived the island's devastating quake.

Three men resigned and four were sacked for gross misconduct after an inquiry into sexual exploitation, bullying and downloading porn, according to The Times.

Paying for prostitutes is illegal in Haiti and goes against Oxfam's code of conduct for worldwide staff.

According to the investigation, the case related to allegations that charity workers had invited groups of young prostitutes to their guesthouse where they held sex "parties", with one described as a "full-on Caligula orgy" and allegations that the girls were wearing Oxfam t-shirts.

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 said. It stated: "It can not be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were underaged".

Workers including Roland van Hauwermeiren, the country director in Haiti for Britain-based Oxfam until 2011, were allowed to resign without any discipline after their sex parties were discovered, the Times of London reported Friday. Prostitution is illegal in Haiti and the age of consent is 18. Paying for sex is banned under Oxfam's code of conduct and is against United Nations guidelines for aid workers.

At the time, the charity said he had left because of serious breaches of its code of conduct.

People search for victims in a destroyed building as tens of thousands of people were feared dead and many were believed to be still trapped alive in the rubble

In addition, two or workers left ir jobs and four were dismissed, but Haitian authorities were not informed and no legal action was taken.

Oxfam responded: "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".

The Charity Commission has confirmed it was made aware of the allegations.

'As soon as we became aware of a range of allegations - including of sexual misconduct - in Haiti in 2011 we launched an internal investigation.

Mr Van Hauwermeiren was permitted to resign because he co-operated with the investigation and the use of underage girls was unproven, it added. A number of staff were dismissed as a result of the investigation and others left the organisation before it was completed.

"Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result".

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