UK Charities Reeling From Multiple Sex Abuse Allegations

by David Nussman  •  •  February 12, 2018   

More than 120 workers accused of sexual assault, pedophilia

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LONDON ( - British nonprofits are under fire after a slew of abuse allegations.

In the past year, more than 120 employees of major U.K. charities have been accused of sexual assault, reports The Times.

The London-based news outlet — known for its weekly Sunday Times — has been responsible for shedding light on the sex assault accusations. On Friday, February 9, The Times covered how government officials were investigating the use of prostitutes by Oxfam aid workers in Haiti in 2011.

Included in the allegations is international NGO Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief). Oxfam alone reported 87 incidents last year, 53 of which were referred to authorities. A total of 20 Oxfam staff and volunteers were dismissed in consequence.

On Saturday, U.K. Secretary for International Development Penny Mordaunt threatened to remove funding from Oxfam and "any other organization that has safeguarding issues."

Sunday morning on the Andrew Marr Show, Mordaunt upheld her stern tone, accusing Oxfam of an "absolute absence in leadership."

Similar criticisms came from Prime Minister Theresa May. A spokesperson for the prime minister slammed the "horrific behavior."

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Oxfam deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned in the wake of the allegations, the non-profit announced Monday.

On Sunday, Oxfam International addressed accusations of sexual exploitation by Oxfam staff in Haiti in 2011 and in Chad in 2006. The response on Oxfam's website called the alleged behavior "unacceptable" and "an appalling mark against the high values we set for ourselves at Oxfam."

Oxfam also addressed concerns that abusers dismissed from the charity have been hired by other aid organizations.

There is concern that perverts and sex offenders are targeting 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, said 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 statement Sunday, "As the new chair of Oxfam, I share the anger and shame that behavior like that highlighted in Haiti in 2011 happened in our organization."

She continued, "In the words of our Chief Executive Mark Goldring, we are ashamed of what happened. We apologize unreservedly."

Thomson concluded her statement, "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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