Sexual abuse is endemic in the aid sector because of a ‘boys’ club’ attitude in male dominated charities, MPs warn.
In a damning report, they said a ‘macho’ environment contributed to the sort of atmosphere where sexual exploitation was tolerated.
The Commons international development committee accused the aid sector of ‘complacency verging on complicity’ over the abuse scandal.
It highlights failings relating to both the recipients of aid and attacks on charity workers.
It found the delivery of help to people in crisis had been subverted by sexual predators, with only superficial action taken to tackle it.
‘Deluded’ charity bosses were engaged in a ‘culture of denial’ – exhibiting more concern for good PR than for victims.
MPs highlight that a lack of barriers makes aid an ‘attractive sector for people wishing to exploit others’.
The report, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid Sector, follows the exposure of abuse by Oxfam aid workers in Haiti in 2011. Among devastating conclusions, it found:Oxfam was more concerned about risk to its reputation than the danger recipients of aid would be abused;
Charities and the Department for International Development ignored reports of sexual abuse going back almost two decades;
The United Nations is still in denial about abuse by its staff, some of whom have immunity from prosecution;
Abuse against aid workers themselves – including rape – may be more prevalent than previously thought;
Whistleblowers are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.
The MPs demanded a boost to the powers of the Charity Commission, with the appointment of a new independent aid ombudsman.
UK, (Daily Mail), 31 July 2018 -
UK, (Daily Mail),- In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Oxfam sent a team of 230 to help the homeless and starving.
Within months, allegations surfaced of senior staff using prostitutes – some of whom may have been under 18.
Roland van Hauwermeiren, head of the charity’s Haiti mission, was accused of paying teenage girls between £70 and £140 a time for sex at his hilltop villa known as the Eagle’s Nest.
Former staff told the Mail earlier this year that Mr van Hauwermeiren, a 68-year-old Belgian, ‘loved young girls’. Instead of being dismissed, he was offered a deal to resign if he co-operated with the investigation.
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