Oxfam pressed over allegations senior aid staff used prostitutes in Haiti

The UK charity has been asked to provide details of allegations that senior aid workers used prostitutes in Haiti 

Oxfam is one of the biggest charities in the UK
Oxfam is one of the biggest charities in the UK

The Charity Commission has demanded that Oxfam provide details of allegations that senior aid workers used prostitutes in earthquake-hit Haiti.

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

Responding to a report in The Times newspaper, Oxfam admitted that the behaviour of some of its staff had been "totally unacceptable". Yet the charity said it had publicly announced an investigation into the allegations back in 2011.

Several senior aid workers were dismissed following the investigation.

Oxfam allowed three men to resign and sacked four for gross misconduct after the inquiry.

"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.

"Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result."

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 charity said it had allowed Van Hauwermeiren to resign on the basis that he fully cooperated with and supported the investigation.

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

Prostitution is illegal in Haiti and the age of consent is 18.

Haiti became the world's first black-led republic and the first independent Caribbean state when it threw off French colonial control and slavery in the early 19th century.

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