Penny Mordaunt issues fresh funding warning to Oxfam


Oxfam toughened up how sex abuse allegations among volunteers, both in the United Kingdom and overseas, are investigated after the shocking case when senior staff members hired prostitutes, who may have been underage, for a "Caligula-style orgy" in earthquake-torn Haiti in 2011, as revealed by a damning report.

Since the allegations came about, Oxfam's deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, has also resigned over the charity's handling of the misconduct.

Aid minister Penny Mordaunt, who threatened on Sunday to withdraw government funding from Oxfam unless it gave the full facts about events in Haiti, summoned senior managers from the charity to a meeting on Monday.

Ms Driver tweeted out the Telegraph article, and added further thoughts, writing: "All I can tell you about this very bad revelation about Oxfam is that I am devastated". This epidemic is rooted in the unequal power relationships that enable powerful and predatory men to exploit women and children through bullying, sexual harassment and outright violence.

She said it was not exclusively the actions perpetrated by Oxfam workers but the way the organisation responded.

Several of Oxfam's corporate sponsors, including Sainsbury's, Visa, M&S and the Co-op bank, have said they contacted the charity to raise concerns about the claims.

"I am desperately sorry for the harm and distress that this has caused to Oxfam's supporters, the wider development sector, and most of all, the vulnerable people who trusted us", she said.

She has also called on all British charities active outside the country to provide moral leadership and transparency about their operations.

Penny Mordaunt issues fresh funding warning to Oxfam
Penny Mordaunt issues fresh funding warning to Oxfam

Depending on its outcome, the government will decide whether to stop or cut back on money given to Oxfam which in 2016-17 amounted to £31.7 million.

Helen Evans, who was in charge of investigating allegations against Oxfam staff members between 2012 and 2015, told Channel 4 television that abuse cases she had heard of included a woman who had been coerced to have sex in exchange for aid.

Priti Patel, an aid critic despite being Mordaunt's predecessor as global development minister, said the Haiti incidents were just "the tip of the iceberg" and there was a "culture of denial" in the sector. "And compels us to take action", she is expected to say.

Ms Mordaunt added: No organisation is too big, or our work with them too complex, for me to hesitate to remove funding from them if we can not trust them to put the beneficiaries of aid first.

Oxfam is Britain's fifth largest charity and receives £300million a year in government funds and public donations.

Among the allegations is that the head of Oxfam in Haiti had "wild sex parties" with multiple sex workers.

After he left Oxfam in 2011, he worked for multiple years for the charity Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh.

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