Oxfam hit with pay-for-sex allegations in Haiti

The UK government says it is reviewing its current work with one of Britain's biggest aid agencies, Oxfam, amid alleg...

Posted: Feb 11, 2018 1:29 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2018 1:29 PM

The UK government says it is reviewing its current work with one of Britain's biggest aid agencies, Oxfam, amid allegations some of its senior employees paid for sex in Haiti in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

An investigation by The Times newspaper in London alleges Oxfam covered up misconduct by senior aid workers, including the then-country director Roland van Hauwermeiren.

Charity covered up abuses by senior aid workers, report says

Oxfam denies cover-up, says it investigated allegations

The newspaper says a confidential report by the charity found that van Hauwermeiren, who resigned in 2011, paid women for sex in the villa the charity had rented for him during the relief efforts. CNN has not independently reviewed the charity's internal report.

Van Hauwermeiren has not commented publicly since The Times report on Friday. CNN's attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful.

According to the paper, the report also found that "children may have been among those sexually exploited by aid workers," and that there had been a "culture of impunity" among some staff in Haiti.

In a statement, the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) says it was informed by Oxfam in 2011 that an investigation had been launched but that at no time did Oxfam disclose that the allegations related to sex with underage girls or prostitutes. It says Oxfam's report to the UK Charity Commission only referred to "sexual misconduct".

"We often work with organisations in chaotic and difficult circumstances. If wrong doing, abuse, fraud, or criminal activity occur we need to know about it immediately, in full. The way this appalling abuse of vulnerable people was dealt with raises serious questions that Oxfam must answer," the Department said in a statement on Saturday.

"We acknowledge that hundreds of Oxfam staff have done no wrong and work tirelessly for the people they serve, but the handling by the senior team about this investigation and their openness with us and the charity commission showed a lack of judgement. 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 International Development Secretary is reviewing our current work with Oxfam and has requested a meeting with the senior team at the earliest opportunity."

Oxfam's own policy prohibits "sexually abusive or exploitative acts being perpetrated" by employees, including paying for sex.

On Friday, Oxfam denied allegations of a cover-up, saying that as soon as it became aware of the allegations it launched an internal investigation resulting in the dismissal of four staff members and the resignation of three, including the country director.

In a statement, the aid group said accusations that underage girls may have been involved were not proven, adding: "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."

Oxfam said van Hauwermeiren "took full responsibility for events that took place under his management" and was permitted to resign if he fully cooperated with their investigation.

The charity published a statement in August 2011 saying that it launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct against what it said was a "small number" of its staff in Haiti.

On Friday, Oxfam said it received legal advice in Haiti that given the nature of the allegations and the turmoil the country was experiencing after the earthquake, it was "extremely unlikely that reporting these incidents to the police would lead to any action being taken."

The aid group says it kept its trustees -- the UK Charity Commission, the European Union, the World Health Organization (WHO), DFID and UN agencies -- informed of the investigation and its outcome. CNN has requested comment from the European Union and the WHO.

The Charity Commission told CNN in a statement that Oxfam informed them in August 2011 it was conducting an internal investigation related to inappropriate sexual behavior, bullying, harassment and the intimidation of staff.

"The report to us stated there had been no allegations, or evidence, of any abuse of beneficiaries. It also made no mention of any potential sexual crimes involving minors. Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time," the Charity Commission statement said.

West Lafayette
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 67°
Monticello
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 67°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
Quiet Conditions After Yesterday's Storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events