UK Charity Commission launches probe into Oxfam scandal

Frederick Owens
February 16, 2018

The former Richmond MP also knows that the continuing lurid claims about the sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable, the victims that the charities were supposedly helping, will make it harder to justify the £13bn a year that Britain now spends in this field when domestic policy priorities are denied funds.

Haiti's President Jovenel Moise has strongly condemned British charity Oxfam, after it emerged that its staff hired prostitutes while delivering aid in 2011. The newspaper alleges some of those prostitutes may have been underaged.

Aid agencies Save the Children, the British Red Cross and Christian Aid have also confirmed reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour involving their staff. It now consists of 19 separate global committees, and is one of the largest aid federations in the world.

Ms Evans claimed that Oxfam shop volunteers as young as 14 had come forward saying they were abused and revealed one case of an adult worker assaulting a child assistant.

"CAFOD has a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct breaching our Code of Behavior, including fraud, abuse, intimidation and other acts", said Chris Bain, the director of the Catholic agency.

She said she was "ashamed" and took full responsibility for the charity's response to the workers' behaviour.

Evans said that the disclosures about the use of prostitutes in Haiti were "not a surprise", as she had been informing the Charity Commission of her concerns since 2015.

Also Tuesday, Britain's charity watchdog opened an inquiry into how Oxfam handled the allegations of sexual abuse in Haiti in 2011.

Oxfam faces a battle to "rebuild the public trust" following the scandal, chief executive Mark Goldring says. "There was an exploration of how should the organization respond but we didn't act on it".

Oxfam has neither confirmed nor denied that specific allegation but has said an internal investigation in 2011 had confirmed sexual misconduct had occurred.

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Bain said CAFOD was not aware of the allegations against the employee, and that he received two letters of reference at the time of his recruitment.

Concerns were also raised over Oxfam's use of public money.

But after hauling the charity over the coals for covering up the sordid events, Cabinet minister Ms Mordaunt agreed not to cut off its £32million of government funding yet.

Such information sharing is especially important in the worldwide aid sector.

Asked about foreign aid charities in general, 53% said they were trustworthy, while 47% said they were untrustworthy.

"The impact of sex tourism laws make it unlawful for anybody to have sex with children under the age of 16 anywhere in the world or aid, abet or support that", he told the BBC.

"The people of Haiti needed worldwide aid and support to get through a medical, food and poverty crisis".

Former International Development Secretary Priti Patel has said there is a "culture of denial" about exploitation and sexual abuse in the aid sector.

A former Oxfam employee has said she encountered allegations of rape, harassment and sex in exchange for aid handouts when she was working for the charity.

"Like us, she is appalled at what happened and is determined to do what is best for Oxfam and the people we exist to help".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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