World Jewish Relief this week said it was reviewing its safeguarding policies after it came to light that a former employee in Ukraine was involved in the Oxfam sex scandal in Haiti.
The London-based charity, which raises money through British supporters for its operations in Ukraine, said its Ukrainian arm hired a man involved in the scandal, which saw several Oxfam aid workers paying poor Haitian women for sex in 2010, despite being in the country to help them. Some may have been under-age.
Prime Minister Theresa May has called for “a full and urgent investigation” after reports that the humanitarian aid workers were involved in “a full-on Caligula orgy” and that Oxfam bossed “covered up” the allegations.
In a statement this week, WJR spokesman Rafi Cooper said the man was employed in a client-facing role by Ukraine Jewish Relief, a separate legal entity registered in Ukraine, on an 18-month fixed-term contract, which ended in June.
“We were not made aware, either by references or by the employee himself, that he had even worked in Haiti, nor were we ever made aware of any past allegations of misconduct against him,” said Cooper.
“We were only made aware of the man’s Haiti connection last week, when the story broke. There have been no allegations of impropriety while he worked for Ukraine Jewish Relief.”
The former employee is understood to have helped the charity’s response to the humanitarian disaster in the east of Ukraine, caused by fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatist rebels since 2014, which has in turn led to large-scale internal displacement. The man’s salary is believed to have been paid at least in part by British supporters of the charity.
Asked about the man’s role, Cooper said: “He would have had access to vulnerable people but there were no allegations of impropriety.