Aid agencies ‘complicit in exploitation of most vulnerable’, says Mordaunt
International development secretary urges aid groups to deliver on promises, while Save the Children’s head dismisses reports he was made to step aside from a review into handling of complaints
The international development secretary said the “grotesque” sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable by aid workers was caused by Britain’s failure in its duty to put aid beneficiaries first.
The scandal has shown that aid organisations have become complicit in the exploitation of people they were supposed to help, Penny Mordaunt said.
To recover from the “wake-up call” of the Oxfam scandal, Mordaunt added, aid organisations needed to live up to their values and deliver on their promises to the world’s poor.
Mordaunt, who has accused Oxfam of a “complete betrayal of trust” over the way it handled the Haiti revelations earlier this month, warned aid groups: “You cannot help and support people, you cannot give them hope and a chance, you cannot promote human rights or the dignity of every human being, whilst paying them for sex, and whilst funding an industry that exploits them.”
The aid sector is reeling from revelations that organisations including Oxfam, Save the Children and the United Nations have mishandled allegations of sexual misconduct. Oxfam’s work was temporarily suspended in Haiti pending an investigation into how it handled claims of former staff paying for sex.