Oxfam denies 'Haiti prostitutes cover-up' after quake disaster

Oxfam sanitation project in one of the tent camps in Haiti

Oxfam sanitation project in one of the tent camps in Haiti

Oxfam, one of Britain's largest, most prestigious charities, has sharply criticized the conduct of some former staff members who operated in Haiti following the 2010 quake after a news report revealed that aid workers had solicited sex from local prostitutes.

One of the men was allowed to resign without disciplinary action.

"The behaviour of some members of Oxfam staff uncovered in Haiti in 2011 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff", a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Britain's Charity Commission said allegations made against Oxfam were counterproductive in shoring up support for charities.

A confidential report from the investigation in 2011 concluded that children may have been among those abused, a front-page piece of the Times revealed on Friday morning. Making no mention of sex or prostitution, it described the misconduct as a breach of its code of conduct, bullying others within the group and "bringing Oxfam's name into disrepute".

The director was Roland Van Hauwermeiren, who The Times alleges used prostitutes at a villa rented for him by Oxfam.

An investigation by the Times newspaper found the charity had sacked four people for gross misconduct and allowed three to resign after an inquiry looking into behaviour in Haiti, where Oxfam helped the worldwide relief effort after the natural disaster in 2010. Oxfam has, however, claimed it did in fact disclose this to the charities regulator.

"We will expect the charity to provide us with assurance that it has learnt lessons from past incidents and is taking all necessary steps to safeguard all who come into contact with it". However, the regulatory body told The Times that it never received the Oxfam inquiry's final report, and that Oxfam "did not detail the precise allegations, nor did it make any indication of potential sexual crimes involving minors".

One source claimed to have seen footage of a "full-on Caligula orgy" with girls in Oxfam T-shirts although this did not form a part of the 2011 report by the charity which did state that "it can not be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged".

Some sources also claimed that some women involved were under the legal age of consent, which is 18 in Haiti.

In addition, two or workers left ir jobs and four were dismissed, but Haitian authorities were not informed and no legal action was taken.

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