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‘Oxfam sex scandal is the tip of the iceberg’

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A LOCAL charity founder has included a zero tolerance clause on sexual relations into contracts for new volunteers after seeing the behaviour of the larger organisations in Haiti in 2010.

Bridge2 founder Sarah Griffith condemned the abuse by senior Oxfam workers in Haiti, a country which her charity helped after it was devastated by an earthquake. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 1914559)

Bridge 2 founder Sarah Griffith said that revelations about the use of prostitutes by Oxfam aid workers was the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

In destitute countries, Ms Griffith said, aid workers are called ‘Charity Kings’ by the locals.

‘We’re the ones with the power, I absolutely condemn the abuse of it. We’re there to help, we’re not there to be getting involved emotionally, even if there was no monetary exchange going on.

‘I’ve heard of aid workers saying they will give more rice to the girls who sleep with them. It’s the most evil type of bribery.

‘There’s a zero tolerance clause for my volunteers so far as sexual relations go since Haiti, I wasn’t particularly aware of it going on until then.

‘I am with my volunteer teams constantly, or in Greece my son was. I think there needs to be a really big change in terms of recruiting volunteers for large organisations, how people are interviewed and the criteria asked of them,’ she said.

In a Facebook post, Mrs Griffith wrote: ‘We are only now hearing on the news, what some of us that work on the ground have sadly known for years, about the abuses that happen in some charities. Oxfam are not alone in this latest news with reference to officials of the highest nature in the organization “using” the very people they were there to protect.

‘When I am asked why I don’t team up with a bigger charity? The answer is simple... if I stay small I have a 100% handle on what is going on around me and the chance of abuse is much reduced.

‘I have reported several things of great concern and at no time has anyone seemed at all motivated to act. In one incident, I wrote to the CEO of a charity to tell her about funds from her charity being spent on seriously substandard materials – she did not show any concern at all. I even sent her a video.’

Alex Warlow

By Alex Warlow
News reporter

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