Medwards President caught up in Oxfam scandal
Senior aid workers used prostitutes during relief efforts in Haiti
C/N- exploitation, prostitution, sexual-exploitation, underage sex
Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Medwards, has been accused of participating in covering-up the use of prostitutes in Haiti by senior-aid members. Prostitutes were hired for sex-parties, one of which was described as a 'full-on Caligula orgy'. Stocking was Chief Exec of Oxfam at the time of the investigation.
The aid team were there to provide relief following the 2010 earthquake which killed 220,000 people and left 1.5 million destitute. Although they were part of an international relief effort, The Times have revealed that members of the team hired sex workers. Roland van Hauwermeiren, the country director in Haiti, admitted to using the villa rented to him with charity money to host prostitutes.
The Times' investigation found that the 2011 report admitted: 'it cannot be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged'. However, Oxfam told Vice News Friday that underage sex was never proved.
The Times found that 'groups of young prostitutes' were invited to the guest-house of the workers for sex parties. However, Oxfam did not inform local authorities, despite prostitution being illegal in Haiti, and failed to be open about firings and resignations following their 2011 investigation.
The Times revealed that three senior aid workers were 'permitted' to resign without any disciplinary procedures. Four workers were fired for not only gross misconduct through sexual exploitation but also bullying and intimidation of Haiti residents and pornography.
Oxfam has responded to accusations by telling The Telegraph:
'This was not a cover-up. Oxfam treats any allegations of misconduct extremely seriously.' 'The investigation and its outcome were publicly announced and we kept Oxfam Trustees, the Charity Commission and the DFID informed.'
At the time, Dame Barbara Stocking said, 'Oxfam never tolerates misconduct by our aid workers. We will take forceful and immediate action pending the outcome of the investigation.'
However, the charity is now being accused of not being 'forceful' enough with their response. Senior officials were simply permitted to resign with 'a phased and dignified exit' if they co-operated with the investigation in order to prevent 'potentially serious implications' that firing them would cause for Oxfam.
An Oxfam spokesperson explained their decision of not going to local authorities by saying that after consulting legal experts, they felt it was 'extremely unlikely that reporting these incidents to the police would lead to any action being taken'.
In a statement to Varsity, a spokesperson for Murray Edwards has said on the matter that “the College believes that the allegation that Barbara Stocking ‘covered-up’ the use of prostitutes by senior Oxfam staff in Haiti is untrue. Oxfam GB, of which Barbara Stocking was CEO at the time, issued a press release to announce the beginning of the investigation and, subsequently, the outcome of the investigation, both locally in Haiti and internationally. The incident was reported to the appropriate bodies, including the Charities [sic] Commission."
“We have full confidence that this matter was dealt with appropriately at the time, and it has no relevance whatsoever for Barbara Stocking’s current role as President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. She has the College’s full support.”
Miranda Nicholson, Medwards JCR President, told the Tab:
As an individual, I support the statement that the college has released. From the facts as I understand them, the behaviour of those seven employees was completely inappropriate, and Barbara Stocking and Oxfam responded in the appropriate way. I would also like to make clear that this response does not necessarily represent the views of the rest of the JCR committee or the wider college, due to the short time frame given to respond.