'Government officials knew about aid workers’ sex abuse but tried to keep it quiet, claims ex-Development Secretary Priti Patel. It follows allegations Oxfam staff paid people – possibly underage – for sex in Haiti and Chad.
The British aid agency faces a crunch meeting with International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt on Monday, which could see it stripped of its £34-million ($47-million) annual government funding.
Oxfam has rejected accusations that it covered up stories of its staff using prostitutes in Haiti in 2011. The personnel involved were on a relief mission following the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed some 220,000 people. An internal inquiry into sexual exploitation, downloading of pornography, bullying and intimidation found there had been a “culture of impunity” among staff during the operation.
A confidential report from the investigation in 2011 concluded that children may have been among those abused. A source with knowledge of the case claims they saw footage of a party that they described as “like a full-on Caligula orgy,” with prostitutes wearing Oxfam-branded shirts, the Times reports.
Following the incident, Oxfam’s country director on the island, Roland van Hauwermeiren, resigned after admitting to using prostitutes at a villa rented for him through the charity’s funding.
Oxfam was hit with more allegations on Sunday that its staff had also exploited vulnerable women in Chad. Former staff who worked for the charity in the country alleged that women believed to be prostitutes were repeatedly invited to the Oxfam team house there, with one adding that a senior member of staff had been fired for his behavior in 2006.'
Read more: Priti Patel claims government officials tried to hush up Oxfam sexual-abuse scandal
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