Government ‘reviewing relationship’ with Oxfam after Haiti sex scandal revelations

Posted On: 
10th February 2018

The Government is reviewing their current work with the international anti-poverty charity Oxfam, after officials were revealed to have had sex parties with prostitutes after the Haiti earthquake.

Dfid said Oxfam's behaviour raised "serious questions".

Three men had resigned and four had been sacked after they were found to have hosted sex parties with prostitutes after the country was devastated by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 2010.

The Department for International Development (Dfid) said last night that the way "this appalling abuse of vulnerable people was dealt with raises serious questions that Oxfam must answer."

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A spokesman added: “The International Development Secretary is reviewing our current work with Oxfam and has requested a meeting with the senior team at the earliest opportunity.”

Between 220,000 and 300,000 people were killed, a further 300,000 injured and a 1.5million Haitians were displaced after the earthquake.

According to a confidential report uncovered by the Times, seven Oxfam officials were found to hired prostitutes while working in the Caribbean country after the earthquake.

The report was unable to rule out the use of underage sex workers.

Oxfam failed to notify the Haitian authorities and the Charity Commission about the men.

It has also emerged Oxfam failed to make future employers of one of the men aware he had left the charity in disgrace.

Roland van Hauwermeiren was forced to step down from his role as Haiti company director in 2011 after it had emerged he had prostitutes at his Oxfam villa.

He went to become head of mission for Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh in 2014-16. The French charity made pre-employment checks but said that Oxfam “did not share with us any warning regarding [his] unethical conduct, the reasons of his resignation or the results of internal inquiry”.

A spokesman said: “Moreover, we received positive references from former Oxfam staff who worked with him, among them a [former] HR person.”

Last night, former International Development Secretary Priti Patel said the charity was guilty of “absolutely scandalous” behaviour, accused Oxfam of showing “astonishing hypocrisy” and should face a criminal investigation.

Speaking on the Today Programme, Oxfam's Chief Executive Mark Goldring defended the actions the charity had taken when the scandal unfolded in 2011.

He claimed Oxfam had put out a press release about the firings of several members of staff for gross misconduct. However, he admitted they had failed to publicise any details of the allegations or names of those involved.