United Kingdom charities warned after Haiti sex claims

United Kingdom charities warned after Haiti sex claims

Oxfam has defended its handling of a sex workers scandal after allegations that staff hired prostitutes during their work in Haiti following the devastating 2010 natural disaster.

Mordaunt called Oxfam's behavior "utterly despicable" and said the agency was suffering from a failure of "moral leadership".

Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told the that she will meet with Oxfam officials on Monday and if they don't turn over everything they know "then I can not work with them anymore as an aid delivery partner".

Senior officials at a Government department are facing questions over claims an investigation into sexual exploitation by United Kingdom aid workers was suppressed.

The number of cases was "just the tip of the iceberg" as she claimed a "culture of denial" had grown across the sector.

An Oxfam report on the investigation stated there had been no allegations of abuse of beneficiaries and made no mention of any potential sexual crimes involving minors.

On Saturday the Charity Commission said that while Oxfam had reported that it was investigating inappropriate sexual behaviour, bullying, harassment and staff intimidation, it had not given the full details.

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"I was an aid worker, I spent the 90s in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, I spent the 2000s in Pakistan, Afghanistan - I do know the industry very well", he said.

In an emailed statement to dpa on Sunday, Oxfam said it would "strive to clarify as soon as possible whether the [Chad] allegations were known to us and what measures were taken".

But Ms Patel, who resigned from the Cabinet in November past year, suggested Whitehall was complicit in covering up the scandal. "I had quotes from the United Nations report", she said. "The lack of accountability meant some aid workers had been able to move on to other agencies".

Caroline Thompson, who chairs Oxfam Great Britain's board of trustees, said charities that work in "fragile and unstable environments can become targets for abusers", but that the organization is committed to fixing the problems it faces.

A senior member of staff, Roland van Hauwermeiren, led the mission in Chad as well as the Oxfam's work in Haiti, but resigned from the charity in 2011.

Oxfam said it was "shocked and dismayed" by the new Chad claims.

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