United Kingdom threatens charity aid cut-off after Oxfam sex report

Penny Mordaunt condemned the'horrific behaviour of some Oxfam staff members and said it was'utterly despicable allegations of abuse persisted in the aid sector

Global development secretary Penny Mordaunt said it was "despicable" that sexual exploitation and abuse existed in the aid sector and threatened to cut funding to charities if they fail to comply with authorities over safeguarding issues.

"At the time, and based on the information provided, we were satisfied that the trustees were handling matters appropriately and did not have regulatory concerns".

He said that it was very important to remember that "there are thousands of people working for Oxfam in some of the most hard places. and we must not forget that Oxfam is one of Britain's most brilliant charities".

She confirmed the charity would meet with the Department for International Development (DFID) on Monday and the Charity Commission, which regulates the sector, later this week.

Oxfam's chief executive has denied there was any cover-up after it was revealed some of its aid workers used prostitutes in Haiti in 2011.

Mordaunt said she was writing to all charities that receive state aid demanding they step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face funding cut-offs.

The Charity Commission said it had written to Oxfam as a matter of urgency to request further information and establish greater clarity.

In a further warning, 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".

Its own investigation into the allegations led to four people being sacked and three others resigning.

Oxfam was also accused of covering up evidence as the Charity Commission said it had never been shown the specific allegations of sexual abuse mentioned in the 2011 investigation report

In further revelations Friday, the paper said Oxfam failed to warn other aid agencies about the staff involved, which allowed them to get jobs among vulnerable people in other disaster areas.

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who has been at the centre of Haiti sex scandal, was running Oxfam's Chad operation at the time. "We were not told about the nature of these events".

Oxfam has denied allegations that it tried to hide that some of its staff paid prostitutes in the aftermath of the natural disaster.

"Moreover, we received positive references from former Oxfam staff - in their individual capacities - who worked with him", including from a human resources staff member, a spokesman said.

It added that the vast number of aid operations working around the globe meant it was "not possible.to ensure that those found guilty of sexual misconduct were not re-employed in the sector".

Mr Goldring told the charity did "anything but" cover the incident up, adding: "We were very open with the public that we were ashamed of the behaviour of our staff".

"Sexual abuse is a blight on society and Oxfam is not immune", Thomson said.

Save The Children said all 31 abuse allegations took place in foreign countries and that 16 people had been dismissed as a result.




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