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Amid sex scandal, Minnie Driver quits as Oxfam ambassador after 20 years

14 February 2018

Last week, The Times of London reported that seven former Oxfam Great Britain staff members were accused of sexual exploitation and abuse, including the use of prostitutes, in Haiti during the 2010 natural disaster response.

Priti Patel said that in light of the revelations of abuse and sex with Haitian prostitutes from the Oxfam's executives, she would not donate to the charity.

Although Oxfam seemed to have dismissed the behavior, critics have pointed out that the optics suggest that charity workers were exchanging life-saving aid for sex.

Oxfam's internal investigation into the use of prostitutes in Haiti led to the dismissal of four employees and three others being allowed to resign, including van Hauwermeiren.

The International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt revealed she was writing to the charities to insist they spell out what steps they are taking on the issue and confirm they have referred all concerns about specific cases and individuals to the relevant authorities.

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Former Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence also resigned on Monday as the scandal continued to grow. "We will consider any further action needed as a result".

Like OXFAM, many other NGOs, operating under the banner of humanitarian assistance, were involved in scandals that have nothing to do with the humanitarian cause they claim to support.

Following a report in The Times alleging aid workers within Oxfam paid for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the 2010 quake, people have been forced to think about their donations to the charity.

At a conference in Stockholm on Wednesday Ms Mordaunt warned: "No organisation is too big, or our work with them too complex, for me to hesitate to remove funding from them if we can not trust them to put the beneficiaries of aid first".

Responding to the announcement, a spokesperson for Oxfam said: "Her decision to step down as an Oxfam Ambassador saddens us deeply, but we also understand and respect her choice".

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The Times newspaper, which broke the story, reported a fellow aid worker made a complaint about van Hauwermeiren over his alleged sexual misconduct back in 2004 while working for the charity Merlin in Liberia.

Downie was highly critical of Oxfam's handling of the situation, saying that despite being informed of the incidents by staff, the organisation had been "more concerned about the charity's reputation than the people who were exploited".

Following Oxfam's sexual misconduct scandal, the government is expected to tell aid agencies that funding will be withdrawn if they can not show they are preventing abuse by staff.

Dame Barbara Stocking, head of Oxfam in 2011, told the BBC the charity had a long record of having a good code of conduct.

"We take sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults extremely seriously and do not tolerate any misconduct of this kind", he said.

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Amid sex scandal, Minnie Driver quits as Oxfam ambassador after 20 years