Office of the Inspector General

Global Fund Grant in South Africa: Sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries by a sub-recipient executive

19 May 2023

The Networking HIV/AIDS Community of Southern Africa (NACOSA), a Principal Recipient in South Africa, engaged a sub-recipient from 2013 until March 2022 to implement a sex work program. The program was designed to provide health services to sex workers and address their human rights concerns.

The OIG investigation substantiated that a sub-recipient executive abused his position of power to sexually exploit, and abuse and harass at least eight sub-recipient staff and program beneficiaries. The executive demanded sex acts from the beneficiaries through coercion, threats of physical harm, false promises of payments, and as a condition to access program benefits or employment with the sub-recipient.

Both NACOSA and the sub-recipient failed to take adequate action to address the sexual misconduct. Further, they did not promptly report these allegations to the Global Fund as required under the Global Fund’s Code of Conduct for Recipients.

NACOSA and the sub-recipient did not ensure that their staff and beneficiaries were sufficiently knowledgeable on prevention and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, and sexual harassment and how to report them.