Oxfam pressed over allegations senior aid staff used prostitutes in Haiti

Roland van Hauwermeiren Oxfam country director for Haiti admitted using prostitutes after the disaster in Port-au-Prince

"Several staff members were dismissed as a result of investigation and ors left organization before it was completed", representative said.

One of the men allowed to resign without disciplinary action was Oxfam's country director in Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, who, according to the report, admitted using prostitutes at the villa rented for him by Oxfam with charitable funds. "The investigation was announced publicly and staff members were suspended pending the outcome".

Oxfam, one of the biggest United Kingdom charities, has denied allegations that it covered up the use of prostitutes.

While Oxfam acknowledged at the time of the staff dismissals that there had been a serious breach of its code of conduct, it reportedly failed to specify sexual misconduct.

The Times reported on Friday that the government secretary responsible for charity regulation was calling for Oxfam to provide more information about the charity staff who had paid for sex in Haiti.

In early August 2011, it was reported a "small number" of employees were being investigated over allegations of gross misconduct. Mr Van Hauwermeiren went on to work elsewhere in the sector.

A spokesman at the time confirmed allegations of misconduct "are not connected to any incidents of fraud".

The 2010 quake in Haiti left at least 220,000 dead.

In the first wave of humanitarian aid after the natural disaster, Oxfam helped around 700,000 people in the Caribbean country. None of them still work for Oxfam.

An unnamed source quoted in the Times report claimed the aid workers invited groups of young prostitutes to a guesthouse for parties, with some of the sex workers wearing Oxfam T-shirts.

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Instead, in September 2011, Oxfam announced six staff had left due to misconduct, but this was described as "abuse of power and bullying" rather than the claims revealed in the report.

The report did not detail the precise allegations, nor did it make any indication of potential sexual crimes involving minors.

"The public expects charities to be safe and trusted environments that safeguard those who come into contact with them", a Charity Commission spokeswoman said.

There were 87 cases of alleged sexual exploitation in Oxfam between 2016 and 2017.

She said Oxfam often worked in very hard locations "where the rule of law isn't going on".

The charity said in a statement: "Oxfam treats any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously".

It also added: "Allegations that underage girls may have been involved were not proven".

"The country director took full responsibility for events that took place under his management and was permitted to resign on the basis that he fully cooperated with and supported the investigation".

"We acknowledge that hundreds of Oxfam staff have done no wrong and work tirelessly for the people they serve, but the handling by the senior team about this investigation and their openness with us and the charity commission showed a lack of judgement".

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