News | International
22 Feb 2018 3:45
NZCity News
NZCity CalculatorReturn to NZCity

  • Start Page
  • Personalise
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Jobs
  • Horoscopes
  • Lotto Results
  • Photo Gallery
  • Site Gallery
  • TVNow
  • Dating
  • SearchNZ
  • NZSearch
  • RugbyLeague
  • Make Home
  • About NZCity
  • Contact NZCity
  • Your Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Login
  • Join for Free

  •   Home > News > International

    Oxfam Haiti sex scandal a 'global problem' within aid industry, former UN worker says

    The prostitution scandal engulfing international aid charity Oxfam is a symptom of a "global problem" in the aid industry, a former senior UN aid worker says.

    The prostitution scandal engulfing international aid charity Oxfam is a symptom of a "global problem" in the aid industry, a former senior UN aid worker says.

    Oxfam is battling the fallout from revelations some of its staff engaged sex workers while delivering aid after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

    The charity's deputy chief Penny Lawrence resigned on Monday night over what she described as the charity's failure to adequately respond to the past allegations.

    Aid agencies Save the Children, the British Red Cross and Christian Aid have also confirmed reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour involving their staff.

    But Andrew MacLeod, former chief of operations of the UN's Emergency Coordination Centre and Red Cross aid worker, said the Oxfam scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.

    "It's a global problem across all charities, including the United Nations," Mr MacLeod said.

    While there are no allegations of underage sexual behaviour in relation to the recent revelations, Mr MacLeod said Britain's National Crime Agency had warned since 1999, predatory child sex offenders targeted the developing world.

    "Their chosen methodology to get access to children is to join a children's charity. That sounds both disgusting and unfortunately logical," he said.

    The UN said last year there were 145 cases of sexual exploitation involving 311 victims reported within peacekeeping in 2016 alone.

    "The secretary-general admitted the problem [of sexual exploitation] is not just in peacekeeping, it's also in the civilian side of the United Nations," Mr MacLeod said.

    'Wild sex parties'

    Among the allegations is that the head of Oxfam in Haiti had "wild sex parties" with multiple sex workers.

    After Oxfam conducted its investigation into the allegations, many of the aid workers involved were allowed to resign — including the regional head of the mission.

    Mr MacLeod said some of those workers who resigned were even given good references.

    "It's ludicrous … the moral leadership vacuum in that organisation that somehow thought … you can sleep with prostitutes while you are supposed to be delivering aid," he said.

    "And then the institution that turns around and thinks doing a report and sending it up to the board is enough.

    "Now let's be clear here, in Haiti prostitution is illegal, so in Haiti these actions were illegal."

    Mr MacLeod said charities were not above the law and at the very least they should have reported the crimes to the Haitian police force.

    "The excuse that Oxfam has used is, 'Oh, we didn't think the police would do anything' — and somehow morally they think that's right?"

    How do you 'fix aid'?

    Mr MacLeod stressed that the vast majority of aid workers were "good people doing good work", and that this should not be used as an excuse to cut aid.

    The British Government has now threatened to cut aid funding to charities that fall short on safeguarding and do not cooperate with authorities investigating alleged sexual abuse.

    But Mr MacLeod believes aid should be redistributed by taking funds away from Oxfam as punishment, and diverting that funding to another charity.

    "The two things that will shock the charity system into fixing this — one, cut some funding, and two, put some people in jail," he said.

    The way to "fix aid", he said, was to put in place mandatory reporting between aid agencies, the UN and host governments whenever there was an accusation against an aid worker.

    "That accusation, particularly on the child sex issue, must be transferred back to their home country when countries have child sex tourism laws, so those home countries can investigate," Mr MacLeod said.

    "Secondly, there needs to be an independent whistleblowing mechanism set up."

    Oxfam's UK headquarters did not respond to the ABC's request for comment or interview.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

     Other International News
     21 Feb: Cape Town's Day Zero pushed back, but authorities say drought threat still real
     21 Feb: China cracks down on funeral strippers hired to entertain mourners, attract larger crowds
     21 Feb: Winter Olympics: How the Aussies fared on day 11 in Pyeongchang
     21 Feb: Alfie Evans: UK parents lose legal battle to keep seriously ill toddler on life support
     21 Feb: Bali beaches swamped by garbage as tourists, hotel workers sweep up each morning
     21 Feb: Why the trial of Ahed Tamimi, who slapped an Israeli soldier, is gaining international attention
     21 Feb: Pressure mounts on Catholic-run family planning clinics in Papua New Guinea
     Top Stories

    Fit-again Rodda to play Reds' rugby opener More...

    Kiwi gains against Aussie after weak data More...

     Today's News

    Cape Town's Day Zero pushed back, but authorities say drought threat still real 23:35

    Law and Order:
    Police assess search for man near Bulls 21:55

    Francia Raisa says Selena Gomez feels like her "family" now 21:35

    Law and Order:
    China cracks down on funeral strippers hired to entertain mourners, attract larger crowds 21:25

    Fit-again Rodda to play Reds' rugby opener 21:15

    Liam Payne and Cheryl Tweedy are yet to agree on which football team their son will support 21:05

    Maya Jama isn't "ignorant to the fact" that people only know her because of her relationship with Stormzy 20:35

    Gita hits New Plymouth's water supplies 20:05

    Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston kept their properties separate when they married 20:05

    Kelly Brook proposed to her boyfriend Jeremy Parisi - but he rejected her 19:35

     News Search

    Power Search

    © 2018 New Zealand City Ltd