Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

OXFAM staff allegedly offered to pay teen girls for sex in African refugee camps 16 months after a similar scandal which rocked the charity, it has been reported.

The charity is investigating allegations that aid workers in camps in Ethiopia and Zambia promised to pay for teenager’s school fees in return for sexual intercourse, The Times reports.

Oxfam is probing allegations its staff offered sex for food supplies and cash to refugees in two African camps, The Times reportsCredit: AFP - Getty

It is also alleged that some staff members traded basic food and supplies for sexual favours while working with the vulnerable refugees.

Men in the camps complained of losing their casual jobs because their wives “refused to have sex with ‘the boss’ ”, the bombshell report says.

This comes 16 months after it emerged that Oxfam covered up of sexual misconduct by aid workers in Haiti in 2011.

On the new allegations, the charity said they were “of direct concern” indicating the suspected involvement of its staff or contractors.

Oxfam also suspects management failures to deal with complaints of exploitation from refugee women.

A panel found “sexual exploitation and abuse allegations were pervasive” in two big camps where the charity and other agencies operate.

The camps in question are understood to be in Ethiopia and Zambia and host tens of thousands of refugees from Sudan and the Congo.

An Oxfam spokesman said: “The shocking and unacceptable abuse described by women in these camps is an affront to the values that both Oxfam and the wider sector hold dear.”

What were the allegations against Oxfam last year?

  • A report in The Times alleged aid workers within Oxfam paid for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
  • Sources gave the newspaper an account of "serious sexual misconduct by a group of male aid workers".
  • It is claimed they threw parties with prostitutes at a guesthouse known as the "pink apartments" rented by the charity.
  • Sources alleged some of the "prostitutes" were girls aged 14-16, below the age of consent.
  • Paying for sex is banned under Oxfam’s code of conduct and is against UN guidelines for aid workers.
  • The charity said it did not call police because the state of the country made it “extremely unlikely that any action would be taken”.
  • Oxfam said it publicly announced an investigation into the allegations when they surfaced in 2011.
  • However it is alleged the reports did not say the men had been using prostitutes - something the charity denies.
  • The scandal deepened after it emerged there have been 123 allegations of sexual harassment including against girls as young as 14 at its stores.

The Charity Commission said it had received a serious incident report from the charity.

Allegations have also been reported to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and a number of other major agencies.

Despite recommending “complete transparency” to tackle exploitation in the aid sector, the report does not identify the agencies, the refugee camps or the countries involved.

It is understood that no allegations have been reported to law enforcement agencies.

The document was released on the same day this month that media attention was focused on the Charity Commission’s damning conclusions about the scandal in Haiti.

Kathy Sierra, co-chairwoman of the independent commission, said that identifying details of locations and NGOs were withheld to protect the confidentiality of victims.

An Oxfam spokesman said: “We take all allegations of abuse extremely seriously and are in contact with former members and staff of the commission to establish more detail.

“We will assist anyone who wishes to do so to make a formal complaint and do all we can to help identify the alleged perpetrators and hold them to account.”

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Oxfam is still reeling from another sex scandal involving refugees in HaitiCredit: Getty - Contributor


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