Haiti’s foreign minister today said that his country would open a probe on the sexual misconduct scandal embroiling the British charity Oxfam. The Haitian government “wants to shed light on this issue and find those responsible, those who are involved in this case and, if found guilty, to punish them in accordance with the law,” Haitian Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Rodrigue told reporters.
The British charity has come under sharp criticism for its handling of allegations that staff members hired prostitutes in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Officials postponed until next week a meeting originally set for Thursday with Oxfam representatives because a Haitian cabinet minister and two senior Oxfam officials were not immediately available, Rodrigue told reporters.
The Times of London reported last Friday that young sex workers were hired by senior staff in Haiti after the earthquake, which left up to 300,000 people dead in the impoverished Caribbean country. Groups of young prostitutes were invited to homes and guesthouses paid for by the charity for sex parties, according to one source who claimed to have seen footage of an orgy with sex workers wearing Oxfam T-shirts.
Oxfam has denied allegations that it was not transparent about the scandal, which prompted the resignation of Oxfam’s deputy head. The charity investigated sexual misconduct allegations in 2011. Roland van Hauwermeiren, who led Oxfam’s team in Haiti, was one of three staff members who resigned over the incident while four others were fired.