Oxfam Loses 7,000 Donors Amidst Scandal

by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 21, 2018   

International sex abuse scandal damages reputation, costs money

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LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A major worldwide nonprofit and non-governmental organization (NGO) is losing sorely in the wake of a sex abuse scandal.

English charity Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) is at the center of a slew of sex abuse allegations targeting volunteers and aid workers.

Most recently in the developing scandal, Oxfam has lost 7,000 of its regular donors, The Guardian reports. Oxfam's chief executive, Mark Goldring, revealed this information in a speech to members of Parliament on Tuesday.

Goldring apologized, saying, "I am sorry, we are sorry, for the damage Oxfam has done both to the people of Haiti but also to wider efforts for aid and development by possibly undermining public support."

The scandal broke out earlier this month when London-based publication The Times reported on sex abuse allegations against employees and volunteers of major U.K. charities, including Oxfam.

The Times claimed government officials were investigating rumors that seven Oxfam workers used prostitutes in Haiti in 2011. Emerging into public light since then are similar allegations involving Oxfam workers in Chad in 2006.

The publication also noted that over 120 workers at major British charities (including Oxfam) were accused of sexual assault in 2017.

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This Monday, Oxfam officials reported that some of the employees implicated in the Haiti scandal had tried to intimidate witnesses into silence.

Cafod, a Catholic charity similar to Oxfam, fired an employee last week who was implicated in the Oxfam scandal. The fired employee formerly worked for Oxfam prior to 2014 and was implicated in the alleged 2011 sexual impropriety during relief efforts in Haiti.

Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned in the wake of the allegations, the non-profit announced on February 12.

The NGO's response on February 11 called the alleged behavior "unacceptable" and "an appalling mark against the high values we set for ourselves at Oxfam."

There is concern that perverts and sex offenders are trying to infiltrate large international charities like Oxfam, with the hopes of being in a foreign country surrounded by vulnerable children and other potential victims.

Andrew MacLeod, a former aid worker for the United Nations and the Red Cross, told The Times he was appalled by aid workers' use of prostitutes in the Philippines. He called it "institutionalized pedophilia," as many of the girls looked under 18 years of age.

We apologize unreservedly.

Caroline Thomson, chair of trustees of Oxfam Great Britain, said in a February 11 statement, "We apologize unreservedly."

She continued, "It is not sufficient to be appalled by the behavior of our former staff — we must and will learn from it and use it as a spur to improvement."


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