Resigned without sanction: Belgian born Roland van Hauwermeiren, country director for Oxfam in Haiti after 2010 earthquake, was let go after his ‘sexcapades’ with prostitutes in Haiti at Oxfam expense, came to light
A major international charity covered up its employees’ sex parties including a “full-on Caligula orgy” with Haitian prostitutes who had just survived the island’s devastating earthquake.
The Haitian earthquake, which hit the capital Port-au-Prince in 2010, killed 220,000 and injured 300,000.In the first wave of humanitarian aid after the earthquake, Oxfam helped around 700,000 people in the Caribbean country.
However a troubling number of senior aid workers for one of UK’s biggest charities were accused of paying survivors of the quake for sex.
In August 2011, Oxfam made a reported an ongoing internal investigation into allegations of misconduct by staff members involved in their Haiti programme.
The report explained that the misconduct related to inappropriate sexual behaviour, bullying, harassment and the intimidation of staff.
Subsequently, three Oxfam employees were allowed to resign and four were sacked for gross misconduct after an internal investigation found some workers had used prostitutes in the disaster-ravaged region.
Oxfam senior staffers have been accused of sex exploitation of prostitutes in Haiti immediately following the devastating earthquake on the island in 2010
Mother carrying her baby contemplates life after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti back in Jan 2010, a historic natural disaster with left an estimated the death toll of more than 300,000 people.
Some of the affected workers including Roland van Hauwermeiren, the country director in Haiti for Britain-based Oxfam until 2011, were allowed to resign without any discipline after their sex parties were discovered, the Times of London reported.
The former director in the country was also accused of inviting prostitutes to his residence, rented by Oxfam, the report states.
The 68-year-old Belgian admitted to hiring prostitutes and having the parties at the villa he rented with Oxfam money, and the Times reported that some of them may have been underage.
Oxfam was also accused of covering up evidence as the Charity Commission said it had never been shown the specific allegations of sexual abuse mentioned in the 2011 investigation report.
van Hauwermeiren admitted using prostitutes in the wake of the Haitian earthquake but was not part of the ‘Caligula’ claims. he was allowed to resign in August 2011 just a week after an internal investigation was announced.
Survivors were completely displaced from their home and left with nothing. Here, a woman walks down a street in the devastated city of Port-au-Prince amidst rubble and debris left behind from the disaster on Jan. 20, 2010.
Aerial of survivors gathered around bodies in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during an aerial assessment mission following a day after the earthquake hit in 2010
Whistle blowers claim they recorded footage of a “full-on Caligula orgy” with women wearing Oxfam t-shirts.
Oxfam said it launched an investigation as soon as it learned of the claims, said no recording had been submitted to the investigation. In early August 2011, it was reported a ‘small number’ of employees were being investigated over allegations of gross misconduct. Some Oxfam workers, left as a result of the investigation.
The organization said allegations that some prostitutes were underage were not substantiated and it did not tell Haitian authorities because “it was extremely unlikely that any action would be taken.”
The organization, which was also criticized for a lack of transparency on how money was spent has pushed back, insisting the Times report lacked context, and noted it spent large amounts of money on setting up emergency shelters such as tents because it “ultimately helped more people.”
Oxfam in recent years has been dogged by a series of scandals, including fraud levels rising more than 64 per cent, sex abuse allegations, and accidental deaths caused by workers.
The charity’s annual report for 2016 revealed that $763,336 [£553,479] was lost to fraud
The charity was also tackling escalating reports of sex assaults and sexual exploitation among its workforce, according to the report.
Oxfam reacted to the report stating: “We remain committed to transparency on allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by Oxfam staff and partners.