Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Oxfam leader now accused of prostitute scandal in three countries

Oxfam leader now accused of prostitute scandal in three countries

Minnie Driver has become the first celebrity to quit as an ambassador of British charity Oxfam following allegations senior staff working in crisis zones paid for sex with vulnerable locals.

Ms Driver is the first celebrity to leave the global charity, which is headquartered in Oxford, UK, since an investigation by a British newspaper revealed senior Oxfam staff had paid prostitutes for sex in earthquake-hit Haiti in 2011.

The Charity Commission, which regulates the sector and will meet this week with Mordaunt, has asked Oxfam to urgently provide fresh information on the scandal in Haiti.

The 48-year-old actress has worked with the charity for over 20 years but has made a decision to step down after a recent investigation revealed an alleged cover-up of aid workers' use of prostitutes in Haiti.

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.

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The actor added the controversy would not discourage her "from working with good people in this space to support a population of human beings around the world that needs our help".

Oxfam has seen a sharp rise in the number of sex abuse allegations made in the wake of the damning Haiti quake scandal of 2011, after the charity strengthened reporting procedures.

According to the Times newspaper, four members of Oxfam staff were let go and three, including the country director Roland Van Hauwermeiren, resigned before the end of the 2011 investigation.

Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence stepped down earlier this week over the handling of the scandal.

Ms Mordaunt said her criticism was not directed exclusively at aid workers accused of exploiting people in Haiti but at "the way the organisation responded".

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"DFID (the Department for International Development) have taken action in this area to try and further strengthen systems to enforce a zero tolerance approach". It hurts me very deeply.

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that some staff who were in Haiti after the 2010 quake there had paid for sex with prostitutes.

Oxfam "allowed Mr Van Hauwermeiren a "phased and dignified" resignation in 2011 to protect the charity's reputation", wrote the Times. "We are engaged with Oxfam to understand what steps have been taken to address staff misconduct and ensure alignment with our own standards and values".

"A big organisation with a lot of people with bad management".

Mordaunt is expected to say: "The sexual exploitation of vulnerable people, vulnerable children, is never acceptable".

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Oxfam also confirmed 52 safeguarding incidents occurred within its trading retail division a year ago, and a former Oxfam volunteer manager told HuffPost of her fears abuse could "absolutely" take place in shops.

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