UK Govt reviews Oxfam work amid Haiti prostitutes scandal

UN peacekeepers were withdrawn last year after reports of a child sex ring

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.

One of Britain's largest charities is under fire following an investigation into claims of sexual exploitation of underage girls by senior aid workers in Haiti.

The Times said Oxford-based Oxfam allowed three men to resign and sacked four others for gross misconduct following investigations into behaviour in Haiti.

The Haitian natural disaster, which hit the capital Port-au-Prince in 2010, killed 220,000 and injured 300,000.

In its statement Friday, Oxfam said that it had informed its trustees, the United Kingdom government's Charity Commission and worldwide development agency, as well as other major donors such as the European Union, the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies of the investigation and the outcome.

One of the staffers permitted to resign without effect was Oxfam country director Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, who the report said admitted to keeping prostitutes at the villa rented for him using donated funds.

Director Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, was allowed to resign in August 2011 just a week after an internal investigation was announced. The aid workers were there to provide relief after the 2010 Haiti natural disaster.

"The misconduct findings related to offenses including bullying, harassment, intimidation and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct", Oxfam said in its statement Friday.

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A Charity Commission spokeswoman said it was engaged with Oxfam on more recent allegations of sexual harassment, reported widely previous year, and has demanded that the charity provide details of the claims in Haiti. 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 with it'.

'We are now engaged with the charity regarding its approach to safeguarding following more recent allegations.

Oxfam said it launched an internal investigation immediately in 2011 which established the existence of a "culture of impunity" among some of the staff.

It said that it had not been able to prove allegations that underage girls were involved.

"Oxfam treats any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously. We will take forceful and immediate action pending the outcome of the investigation".

The French charity told the paper it made pre-employment checks but that Oxfam "did not share with us any warning regarding (his) unethical conduct, the reasons for his resignation or the results of internal inquiry".

The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) said Oxfam's leaders "showed a lack of judgment" in the way they investigated the case and in communicating with the government and the British commission that control humanitarian organizations.

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