Corporate backers demand answers over Oxfam sex crimes scandal

Unilever threatens to pull ads through Facebook, Google

Oxfam is actually facing tough questions through its corporate backers following revelations of sex crimes committed by the charity’s workers in Haiti along with Chad.

The Times of London has reported in which Oxfam sought to cover up misconduct by senior aid workers deployed to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake in which killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The aid workers — including the Oxfam country director at the time, Roland van Hauwermeiren — were accused of turning a villa rented by the organization into a makeshift brothel.

Oxfam is actually supported by dozens of big companies including Visa (V), Google (GOOGL), PayPal (PYPL) along with Unilever (UL). in which spent over £300 million ($414 million) in its latest financial year to address poverty along with help victims of conflict along with natural disasters.

The charity raised £17.4 million ($24 million) through philanthropists, companies along with foundations last year, according to its annual report.

Visa described the sex crimes revelations as “deeply concerning.”

“We are engaging with Oxfam to understand exactly what occurred along with what recourse will be taken,” Visa said in a statement. “We are committed to the highest standards of professional along with personal conduct, along with we expect the same through our partners.”

Waterstones, a British book retailer, said in which might stick by the charity for today.

“We listen to, along with seek to understand, the assurances given by the Oxfam leadership along with at in which point remain committed supporters to the charity,” Waterstones said in a statement.

Britain’s Co-operative Bank said in which was in touch with Oxfam along with “closely monitoring the situation.” Another partner — London’s Heathrow airport — said in which was “taking in which matter very seriously.”

Google, PayPal along with Unilever did not respond to requests for comment. U.K. department store chain Marks & Spencer declined to comment.

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The Times said a confidential report by the charity found in which van Hauwermeiren, who resigned in 2011, paid women for sex from the villa the charity had rented for him during the Haiti relief efforts.

sy88pgw has not independently reviewed the charity’s internal report.

Van Hauwermeiren has not commented publicly since The Times report on Friday. sy88pgw’s attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful.

According to the paper, the report also found in which “children may have been among those sexually exploited by aid workers,” along with in which there had been a “culture of impunity” among some staff in Haiti.

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Penny Lawrence, the organization’s deputy chief executive, resigned on Monday.

“Over the last few days we have become aware in which concerns were raised about the behavior of staff in Chad as well as Haiti in which we failed to adequately act upon,” she said. “in which is actually today clear in which these allegations — involving the use of prostitutes along with which related to behavior of both the country director along with members of his team in Chad — were raised before he moved to Haiti.”

Oxfam has denied allegations of a cover-up, saying in which as soon as in which became aware of the allegations in which launched an internal investigation resulting from the dismissal of four staff members along with the resignation of three, including the country director.

The aid group also said accusations in which underage girls may have been involved were not proven.

Government funding for Oxfam is actually also at risk.

The U.K. government’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt warned on Sunday in which Oxfam could lose millions of pounds in public funding because of the scandal.

Oxfam received around £32 million ($44 million) through the government from the last financial year, according to public records.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said in which might pull funding through any agency in which’s “not living up to the required high ethical standards.”

Oxfam received just over £29 million ($40 million) through the commission in its latest financial year.

— Angela Dewan, Bharati Naik along with Chris Liakos contributed to in which report.

sy88pgw (London) First published February 12, 2018: 1:15 PM ET

Corporate backers demand answers over Oxfam sex crimes scandal

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