UK Govt warns charities over sex misconduct as Oxfam scandal widens
UK Govt warns charities over sex misconduct as Oxfam scandal widens
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15 February, 2018, 02:15
Minnie Driver has quit her role as an ambassador for British charity Oxfam which is embroiled in a growing prostitution scandal.
Last week, The Times of London reported that seven former Oxfam Great Britain staff members were accused of sexual exploitation and abuse, including the use of prostitutes, in Haiti during the 2010 natural disaster response.
The commission is also looking into claims that Roland van Hauwermeiren - the charity worker at the centre of the sexual misconduct scandal in Haiti - was employed by Oxfam, two years after he left another aid agency because of concerns about his behaviour.
The British actress has worked with Oxfam for over 20 years and has traveled to Cambodia and Thailand to raise awareness in her ambassadorial role for the charity.
British charity Oxfam on Wednesday said more than 1,200 people had discontinued their regular donations to the organisation while allegations of a sexual misconduct scandal surfaced.
An Oxfam store in London.
The scandal led to the resignation of Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence, who said she took full responsibility for what had happened on her watch.
The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that reports of sexual abuse of vulnerable people in Haiti were "disgraceful and disgusting" but he added: "It's not a reason to cut the budget, it's a reason to manage it carefully".
Ms Driver tweeted out the Telegraph article, and added further thoughts, writing: "All I can tell you about this bad revelation about Oxfam is that I am devastated".
Oxfam bosses could lose £30 million ($42 million) in annual government funding if authorities find evidence of foul play.
Even in this time of #MeToo revelations, allegations of misconduct against seven former aid workers with Oxfam Great Britain are particularly shocking.
"Her decision to step down as an Oxfam Ambassador saddens us deeply, but we also understand and respect her choice", the spokesman wrote.
Although Oxfam seemed to have dismissed the behavior, critics have pointed out that the optics suggest that charity workers were exchanging life-saving aid for sex.
Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring said Saturday it receives less than 10 percent of its funding from DFID and hoped to continue working with the department while rebuilding trust with the public.
Among the allegations is that the head of Oxfam in Haiti had "wild sex parties" with multiple sex workers.
At a summit in Stockholm today, attended by global aid agencies and ministers from more than 20 countries, Mordaunt will criticise abuse in the aid sector and pledge £5m of Government funding to help protect vulnerable children across the globe.
"However, the Scottish Government will not hesitate to take appropriate action whenever we suspect that any abuse has occurred, and we expect the same commitment from those working with us".
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During the probe, Oxfam dismissed four staff members and another three resigned, including van Hauwermeiren. Goldring apologised yesterday and said he was 'deeply ashamed of Oxfam's behaviour [in Haiti]'.
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