An inquiry into sexual exploitation in the international development NGO sector by the UK parliament's International Development Committee (IDC) has found evidence of pervasive abuse of those receiving assistance. The report showed that accountability mechanisms to prevent abuses and hold perpetrators accountable are woefully inadequate with limited investigations, poor protection for whistleblowers, and weak safeguarding mechanisms.
The Chair of the IDC, Sarah Champion, concluded in the report that the development sector was the "last safe-haven" for abusers and that the culture of the development assistance sector itself was a significant factor in the scale of the problem. The report singled out the UN, calling on the international body to stop the routine use of immunity from prosecution during missions as a shield to protect perpetrators.
Changes must go beyond a box-ticking exercise, the report emphasizes, and address the problematic culture of the development sector overall. Authors called for greater localization of programming to start approaching the issue, referring to the process of engaging recipients of assistance in the design and oversight of development programming.