World

Minnie Driver quits Oxfam after 20 years over Haiti sex scandal

Minnie Driver quits Oxfam after 20 years over Haiti sex scandal

"Horrified" Minnie Driver has quit as Oxfam's global ambassador after sex scandal allegations against the charity surfaced.

The deputy head of Oxfam resigned on Monday over what she said was the British charity's failure to adequately respond to past allegations of sexual misconduct by some of its staff in Haiti and Chad.

Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain, Penny Lawrence, handed in her resignation on Monday (February 12), expressing her "shame" and saying "she takes full responsibility" for the scandal.

During her time as an Oxfam ambassador, Driver travelled to countries including Cambodia and Thailand to highlight the charity's work and has also performed at a fundraising concert.

The scandal has led to the resignation of Oxfam's deputy head and has thrown into question British government funding for the charity, which amounted to around £32 million (36 million euros, $44 million) previous year.

Britain's worldwide development secretary Penny Mordaunt is due to meet with investigators from the National Crime Agency to discuss the scandal.

"It is now clear that these allegations - involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behaviour of both the country director and members of his team in Chad - were raised before he moved to Haiti", she said.

The Charity Commission announced on Tuesday it has opened a statutory inquiry into Oxfam and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt is due to give a speech on Wednesday threatening to cut government funding to charities who fail to put robust safeguarding measures in place.

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Oxfam has apologised for the behaviour of aid workers, but denies a coverup, the CNN said.

"DFID (the Department for International Development) have taken action in this area to try and further strengthen systems to enforce a zero tolerance approach".

Former aid workers of Oxfam in Haiti have been accused of paying for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the 2010 natural disaster.

A spokesperson for Oxfam said the company was "saddened" by her decision to step down but that they respected her wishes. "We also, in a number of countries, support partner organisations that work with sex workers to ensure their basic rights; so we are definitely not in any position to tell sex workers how to live their lives".

At a summit in Stockholm today, attended by worldwide aid agencies and ministers from more than 20 countries, Mordaunt will criticise abuse in the aid sector and pledge £5m of Government funding to help protect vulnerable children across the globe.

One of the UK's biggest charities, Oxfam was the subject of a report in the Times newspaper last week.

Corporate sponsors like Visa and M&S said they were "monitoring" the situation, according to the Telegraph.


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