United Kingdom

Researchers uncover British foreign aid workers who fathered children abroad

Researchers are uncovering British foreign aid workers who fathered children abroad by using publicly available DNA databases.

Six test cases have already been completed in the Philippines by researchers from King's College London, finding men in Australia, Canada, the United States and Britain to have fathered children in the country.

They did so either through sex tourism or in relation to foreign aid work, The Telegraph reported.

The research - that uses genealogy technology - comes in the wake of the 2011 Oxfam scandal that rocked the aid sector after allegations said that staff had engaged in sexual misconduct with victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Researchers at King's College London are tracking down men who fathered children while in the Philippines as aid workers.  The research - that uses genealogy technology - comes in the wake of the 2011 Oxfam scandal that rocked the aid sector after allegations said that staff had engaged in sexual misconduct with victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake (pictured)

One of the men - a British man and former aid worker for the World Bank - was found to have fathered two children in the Philippines 20 years ago.

Now in his 70s, the man was tracked down in the UK by the team using public data. He has now accepted the children.

The project is being led by Andrew MacLeod, a lawyer at Griffin Law, visiting professor at King's College and the co-founder of Hear Their Cries, an anti-child abuse charity in Switerland,

It has been awarded around £44,000 in funding by the university to expand its work into central and Western Africa. 

Mr MacLeod told The Telegraph that the small amount of funding will allow the project to 'take a second go at the proof of concent'.

'We're now identifying partners, women and children to repeat the programme we did in the Philippines… in those parts of central and West Africa where almost certainly the fathers will be aid workers,' he said.

The lawyer added that some of the funding will also go towards hiring an academic at the university to conduct research into the 'underreported nature' of sexual abuse in the aid industry.

He hopes that the project can become a 'permanent international institution' which 'does nothing but to seek out and find victims of abuse,' he told the newspaper.

Once a suspected victim of aid worker abuse is identified, the field team will take a DNA sample that will be returned to London.

One of the men - a British man and former aid worker for the World Bank - was found to have fathered two children in the Philippines 20 years ago. Pictured: An Oxfam project in Haiti in 2011 after the earthquake that displaced 55,000 people

Mr MacLeod then works on behalf of each individual victim to trace their father using DNA databases that are publicly available. 

A similar method was used to catch the 'Golden State Killer', who killed 12 people and raped 45 women between 1975 and 1986.

Police used public family tree data to track Joseph James DeAngelo down. His fingerprint have been on file for decades without being identified. 

While DeAngelo himself had not uploaded his data himself to the public site, a distant relative had. This allowed police in California to find him in 2018.

Kings College's forensics department is working with other faculties on a six month pilot, Denise Syndercombe Court, Professor of Forensic Genetics said.

The goal is to 'fully document the extent of the issue' and to provide genetic evidence of the abuse, she said.

The team is planning to present the project at a conference in May 2021, Covid-19 restriction permitting, with the goal of getting support from national and international governments, as well as industries and charities, to limit any abuse that is ongoing, the professor explained.

After lobbying governments for decades, Mr MacLeod - who has previously held senior positions at the UN - said that he is yet to see any 'meaningful change' within the industry.

But said he was optimistic the new technology can help to hold the perpetrators of the abuse to account now that he has 'all the tools' at his disposal.

Oxfam boss who 'paid teenage girls up to £140 a time for sex' in Haiti

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Oxfam sent a team of 230 to help the homeless and starving.

Within months, allegations surfaced of senior staff using prostitutes – some of whom may have been under 18. 

Roland van Hauwermeiren, head of the charity's Haiti mission, was accused of paying teenage girls between £70 and £140 a time for sex at his hilltop villa known as the Eagle's Nest.

Scandal: Roland van Hauwermeiren was accused of paying teenage girls for sex

Former staff told the Mail in 2018 that Mr van Hauwermeiren, a 68-year-old Belgian, 'loved young girls'. Instead of being dismissed, he was offered a deal to resign if he co-operated with the investigation.

Mr van Hauwermeiren was allowed 'a phased and dignified exit' by then Oxfam chief executive, Dame Barbara Stocking.

The charity released a statement in August 2011 saying he had voluntarily stepped down because of staff misconduct.

Mr van Hauwermeiren became head of mission for Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh from 2012 to 2014. Despite employment checks, the charity said Oxfam 'did not share any warning regarding unethical conduct'.

Football news:

Hazard, most likely, will not play with Shakhtar in the Champions League. He trained individually
One-Bissaka will be able to play with Atalanta in the Champions League. Manchester United's appeal against his disqualification was granted
Milan has extended the contract with the Belgian national team midfielder Salemakers until 2026. Salary - 2 million euros a year
Spalletti's Fiat Panda was stolen. The car was parked in the parking lot of the hotel where coach Napoli lives
Atletico President: The deals on Griezmann and Suarez have benefited Barca, our club and the players themselves
Sergio Aguero: Ronaldo is more of a striker than Messi. Cristiano scores, scores and scores
Laporta on Pedri: We want him to have the same career at Barca as Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. He is worth more than a billion euros