Oxfam accused of failing in its 'moral leadership' over Haiti sex scandal

Person organising aids to be sent to Haiti

Major global charity Oxfam is in hot water with the British government for having sex parties with Haitian prostitutes following the 2010 quake that rattled the nation, killing 220,000 people.

Britain's International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt warned today Oxfam must hand over to authorities any information it has collected on a "shocking" staff prostitution scandal in Haiti or face repercussions.

In a further warning to the charity, she said: "If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities, including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities, then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner". Among the alleged misconduct is paying sex workers and sexual abuse.

"With regard to Oxfam and any other organisation that has safeguarding issues, we expect them to cooperate fully with such authorities, and we will cease to fund any organisation that does not", she said in a statement.

Ms Mordaunt's announcement comes as the Observer reports that Oxfam workers allegedly used prostitutes in Chad in 2006.

Patel, the former development secretary, who was forced to resign from the cabinet in November of unauthorised meetings with Israeli ministers, made the same allegations on BBC Radio 5′s Pienaar's Politics.

Ms Mordaunt said it did not matter how good the safeguarding practices were in an organisation if they did not "have the moral leadership to do the right thing".

Oxfam said it now had a dedicated safeguarding team, a confidential whistleblowing hotline and safeguarding contact point within countries, and a code of conduct that stipulated: "I will also not exchange money, offers of employment, employment, goods or services for sex or sexual favours".

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Ms Mordaunt said she had written to all United Kingdom charities that receive aid from the Government and asked them to explain the measures they took to implement safeguarding measures.

A DfID spokesman said the way "appalling abuse of vulnerable people" had been dealt with raised serious questions for Oxfam.

Former worldwide development secretary Priti Patel told BBC Radio 5 Live the Oxfam allegations had not surprised her and said it was "absolutely appalling".

"If they do not hand over all the information they have from their investigations to the relevant authorities.then I can not work with them".

"There has been in my view, not just a cover-up with Oxfam, there is a denial, a culture of denial in the aid sector about the exploitation and sexual abuse that has taken place historically for decades", she said.

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who resigned from Oxfam in 2011 after admitting that prostitutes had visited his villa in Haiti, was head of Oxfam in Chad at the time.

"These allegations are deeply shocking", said one official.

Andrew Mitchell has strenuously denied he was aware of any misconduct at Oxfam when he was in charge of the Department for International Development.

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