Oxfam: Staff Engaged in Sexual Misconduct Following Haiti Earthquake

The charitable organization Oxfam admitted on Friday that some employees had committed sexual misconduct while working in disaster recovery following an earthquake in Haiti. The admission came following a report in a newspaper in Britain that detailed the allegations of staff members holding “Caligula” like parties which were attended by prostitutes at a home that the organization had rented for the workers.

The investigation by the Times of London published on Thursday detailed allegations that the country director for Oxfam used prostitutes that were part of the overall misconduct alleged to have taken place while the charity deployed in order to help the Caribbean island nation recover following the 2010 devastating quake.

The behavior was unacceptable, contrary to the values of Oxfam and the high standards that are expected of the staff, said one of the largest charitable organizations in Britain through a prepared statement Friday.

The report by the times was based upon sources that were familiar with the work the organization carried out in Haiti at the time along with a report done internally by Oxfam into the allegations taking place at the time.

The country director of the organization admitted to having prostitutes visit the villa Oxfam rented for him. The director did not get fired but was offered a deal in exchange. If he cooperated with the charity’s investigation he would be given the opportunity to resign rather than be fired. The Times report on Thursday said that Oxfam’s inquiry was limited by the desire it had not to bring it into the eye of the public.

As well as the country director there were six other Oxfam workers who left the organization following its investigation. Two of the people resigned when an investigation into whether prostitutes were used was started, and four were fired for offenses such as bringing prostitutions onto Oxfam property as well as having illegal and pornographic material on official computers.

Misconduct findings included bullying, intimidation, harassment, failing to protect staff and sexual misconduct, said Oxfam in a statement.

It said it was not able to prove the allegations that there had been underage girls involved.

Oxfam, one of the largest Britain-based charities, was carrying out a huge effort on Haiti following the quake, which killed over 200,000 people, while injuring another 300,000 and leaving over 1.5 million displaced.

A fund of £70 million or in excess of $100 million was allocated by the charity to buy relief supplies and help to rebuild the infrastructure. The vast majority of the staff members, which totaled 230, were not accused of doing anything improper.

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