Hindu Vivek Kendra
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UK-funded charity World Vision admits volunteers sexually exploited survivors of 2010 Haiti earthquake

Author: Ella Wills
Publication: The Evening Standard
Date: February 18, 2018
URL:     https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/ukfunded-charity-world-vision-admits-volunteers-sexually-exploited-survivors-of-2010-haiti-a3769566.html?amp&__twitter_impression=true

 UK-funded charity supported by Meghan Markle has admitted volunteers taking part in one of its relief schemes sexually and financially exploited survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

World Vision came under fire after reports emerged its “workers” had allegedly traded food and cash for sex with survivors.

But the charity has claimed those involved in sexual exploitation were not World Vision staff.

In a statement World Vision said: “They were community volunteers and cash-for-work beneficiaries themselves.”

It added: “We are sorry to anyone who feels let down by World Vision in any failure of ours to protect or report.”

The global charity, whose ambassadors have included Prince Harry’s fiancée, delivers “cash-for-work” programmes in disaster zones.

Cash-for-work is a short-term initiative used by humanitarian bodies to provide temporary employment in public projects to vulnerable communities.

After the earthquake, this cash-for-work programme took the form of inviting local people to act as community leaders in temporary camps established by Haitian authorities for some 1.2 million people.

These community leaders were “registered beneficiaries” of the World Vision programme, and some “received a daily allowance”, the charity confirmed.

It added: “They were not hired by us, nor employed to work in World Vision relief programmes.”

“Independent evaluations” of World Vision’s response to the January 2010 earthquake said leaders “took advantage” of their authority.

In its 2011 Accountability Report, the charity said: “These leaders reportedly opportunistically took advantage of the authority this approach implied, and camp residents were allegedly subject to both sexual and financial exploitation to be included on beneficiary lists.

“At the same time, corruption and manipulation of the lists for personal gain, and attempts at such, was a reported problem.”

In a statement released on Sunday, World Vision said: “In our cash-for-work programme in 2010-11, several evaluations conducted by World Vision and our partners highlighted a number of issues in government-run camps; of nepotism, sexual exploitation and inaccurate record-keeping.”

It added: “We recognise that it is possible there may have been inappropriate behaviour by people employed by or associated with World Vision that went unreported.

“If that is the case, we encourage anyone who saw or experienced sexual exploitation or abuse to come forward, or to report it through our confidential Whistleblower Hotline, and we will do all we can to investigate (report online or call collect +1-503-726-3990).”
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