LONDON — The International Committee of the Red Cross has joined the list of prominent charities that have uncovered sexual misconduct among its staff.

ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord says 21 staff members have resigned or been fired since 2015 after violating policy by paying for sexual services. Two others did not have their contracts renewed because of suspected sexual misconduct.

“I am deeply saddened to report these numbers,” he said. “This behavior is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve.”

Daccord said because of the decentralized nature of the sprawling aid agency, which has more than 17,000 employees worldwide, it is possible that other incidents were not reported or properly handled.

Plan International UK has also disclosed wrongdoing. The charity group says it has confirmed six cases of sexual abuse of children by staff, volunteers or partner organizations and has pledged to do more to prevent misconduct.

Charities in the U.K. have been under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following allegations that senior staff from the British aid organization Oxfam used prostitutes and downloaded pornography while working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig