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CARE International said it investigated 28 cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of community members or of sexual harassment within its organization in 2017, and that 11 members of staff were fired as a result. This is the first time the women- and children-focused international charity, which has more than 9,000 staff members working in over 90 countries, has reported figures on sex abuse cases.
The CARE numbers come as the aid industry is rocked by cases of sexual misconduct and abuse, following recent revelations that some Oxfam aid staff used sex workers while on mission in Haiti in 2011. Save the Children and Oxfam said they fired 16 and 22 staff, respectively, over the past year, while Médecins Sans Frontières said 20 people were sacked in 2017 for sexual abuse or harassment, and 10 people the year before, as reported by Reuters.
Laurie Lee, who is currently serving as interim secretary general of CARE International and has been head of CARE International UK since 2014, said the organization decided to publish the figures as part of a broader and ongoing effort to “really stamp out something we don’t want to have as part of our sector.”
In an interview with Devex, Lee, spelled out the steps CARE is taking to better protect beneficiaries and staff from sexual abuse, harassment, and exploitation, but said that governments, donors, and other NGOs will need to work together to solve the issue that is roiling the sector.
Talking about the crisis, Lee said: “It’s an opportunity for ourselves to really encourage people to report [and] take all of the action that we should.”
Read the full article about CARE's promise to fight sexual misconduct by Sophie Edwards at Devex International Development.