‘Like a Full-On Caligula Orgy,’ Investigation Reveals Oxfam Prostitution Scandal in Haiti

The British government has ordered Oxfam to hand over documents on staff that paid for sex, possibly with children, during recovery efforts in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake

The Times of London published an investigation that showed senior Oxfam officials hired sex workers while in Haiti.

Oxfam receives £300 million ($414 million) a year in British taxpayer funds and public donations. The report uncovered by the Times showed three men resigned and four others were fired “for gross misconduct after an inquiry into sexual exploitation, the downloading of pornography, bullying and intimidation.

The 2011 report also concluded children may have been among those who were sexually, stating “It cannot be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged.”

One of the men who resigned was Roland van Hauwermeiren, the 68-year-old country director for Oxfam. Van Hawermeiren admitted to paying for sex at a villa rented for him by Oxfam. 

Reports the Times:

Despite the admission, the charity’s chief executive at the time, Dame Barbara Stocking, offered [van Hauwermeiren] “a phased and dignified exit” because sacking him would have “potentially serious implications” for the charity’s work and reputation. After the internal inquiry, two other men in management were able to resign while four were dismissed for gross misconduct, including over the use of prostitutes at the apartment block where Oxfam housed them.

A number of sources with knowledge of the case said they had concerns that some of the prostitutes were under age. One said that men had invited groups of young prostitutes to their guesthouse and held sex “parties”. The source claimed to have seen footage from a night there that was “like a full-on Caligula orgy”, with girls wearing Oxfam T-shirts. The charity is understood to have no record of the footage being given to the investigation.

British Labor MP Gavin Shuker said of the revelations, “In case you were wondering, teenage girls, in one of the poorest countries in the world, immediately following an earthquake don’t by any measure ‘choose’ prostitution.”

British culture secretary Matt Hancock, who overseas the charity, called the report “deeply shocking.”

“These allegations are deeply shocking and Oxfam must now provide the Charity Commission with all the evidence they hold of events that happened in Haiti as a matter of urgency,” he said.

“The reported historic behavior of senior aid workers is abhorrent and completely unacceptable. Charities must ensure that they have the highest standards of transparency and safeguarding procedures in place to protect vulnerable people and maintain the trust of the public.”

Prostitution is illegal in Haiti and the age of consent is 18. The 2010 earthquake near Port-au-Prince killed 220,000 people.

 

feature image: Roland van Hauwermeiren via The Times

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