Oxfam, Haiti and Another Charity Sector Scandal

Oxfam, the charity organisation focussed on eradicating global poverty, has recently been trying to navigate its way through a sex scandal. Staff members have been accused of using sex workers while in Haiti in 2011 when they were supposed to be delivering aid. Workers have since admitted that the sex workers that took part in the ‘calligulat orgy’ were in fact under-age.

Senior leaders have since warned that the charity could lose millions of pounds in funding. Ethical questions have since arisen as to whether people would cover up the crimes and the actions of senior staff members of the charity in order to keep funding for the good work they do. The UK government is currently looking at the way it deals with the charity in a bid to try and solve what may be one of the biggest ethical dilemmas of the charity sector in the 21st century.

Oxfam, a charitable organisation that began in 1942, has claimed they had been aware of the allegation prior to newspapers picking up on it. Since then, their deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned, taking full responsibility that “(c)oncerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon”.

Van Hauwermeiren resigned in 2011, after he admitting that prostitutes had visited his villa in Haiti. Speaking about Hauwermeiren a former Chad AID worker said: “They would invite the women for parties. We knew they weren’t just friends but something else.”

The charity commission is currently reviewing the charity’s status and nationwide we are all asking if Oxfam should have told the public about these allegations earlier. Should the British public be aware of things like this, in order to know where to ethically donate? Or, is all of this irrelevant. Join us on our social media for a debate about Oxfam and the ethics of donating.

Afshan D'souza-Lodhi
Afshan D'souza-Lodhi is a poet and playwright based in Manchester. As well as her own writing Afshan is keen to develop other younger and emerging artists. You can find her fighting against police brutality and injustice alongside the Northern Police Monitoring Project.

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