MSF workers in Africa used ‘very young’ prostitutes, ex-staff tell BBC
(France 24 Online) – Some senior staff working for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Africa have allegedly used “very young” local prostitutes, the BBC reported on Thursday, citing former staff members of the renowned charity.
The not-for-profit group said it took the allegations seriously – which according to the BBC involved logistical staff, and not doctors or nurses – but said it had so far been unable to confirm the claims and urged anyone with information to come forward.
The aid industry has been shaken by reports of sexual wrongdoing since it emerged in February that Oxfam staff paid for sex in Haiti during a relief mission after a 2010 earthquake.
A former employee based in MSF’s London office told the BBC she had seen a senior staff member bring girls back to MSF accommodation while posted in Kenya.
“The girls were very young and rumoured to be prostitutes,” she said, adding that it was “implicit” that they were there for sex.
She said some of the older, long-standing male aid workers took advantage of their positions.
“I felt that, with some of the older guys, there was definitely an abuse of power,” she said.
“They’d been there for a long time and took advantage of their exalted status as a Western aid worker.”
She questioned what the charity knew, saying: “There’s definitely a feeling that certain predatory men were seen as too big to fail.”