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 12:29 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2018 12:29 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.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
Fort Payne
Mostly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 56°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 830484

Reported Deaths: 12049
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby927281585
Davidson87309923
Knox49411623
Hamilton43254481
Rutherford41816420
Williamson27237214
Sumner23155339
Montgomery19075224
Wilson17979224
Out of TN1794598
Unassigned16655134
Sullivan16096287
Blount14963194
Bradley14518147
Washington14129242
Sevier13116174
Maury13021168
Putnam11155173
Madison10771240
Robertson9567127
Anderson8599171
Hamblen8478170
Greene7715152
Tipton7216102
Coffee6824121
Dickson6724109
Cumberland6555127
Carter6443156
Bedford6409127
Gibson6387144
McMinn634295
Roane6174102
Jefferson6061121
Loudon601169
Lawrence578686
Hawkins5766106
Monroe570295
Warren550881
Dyer5357104
Franklin508388
Fayette490377
Obion449996
Cocke442998
Cheatham442254
Rhea430375
Lincoln429563
Marshall410358
Campbell408462
Weakley401962
Giles393998
Henderson372475
Macon357376
Carroll357182
White353968
Hardin349166
Hardeman345863
Lauderdale314244
Henry311875
Marion308346
Claiborne305573
Scott305145
Overton296360
Wayne294234
Hickman279645
McNairy276754
DeKalb274953
Smith273938
Haywood268161
Grainger258449
Trousdale248722
Morgan245539
Fentress238046
Johnson230238
Bledsoe209411
Chester209351
Crockett200948
Polk199024
Unicoi194149
Cannon188831
Union185634
Grundy177232
Humphreys173621
Lake169526
Sequatchie166428
Benton162940
Decatur157338
Lewis155726
Meigs134123
Stewart130028
Jackson129635
Clay109031
Houston108333
Perry105728
Moore99717
Van Buren83421
Pickett75624
Hancock54712

Community Events