An inquiry in Mozambique has confirmed reports of forced prostitution in a women’s prison.
Last month Anti-corruption organisation the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) revealed that female prisoners in the country were being forced into prostitution by staff of prison facilities.
The group said for years prisoners from Ndlavela Women’s Penitentiary in the capital, Maputo, have been taken to nearby guest houses to work as prostitutes for wealthy clients.
These details were revealed by investigative undercover journalists who also spoke to current and former inmates forced to have sex several times a week.
According to the victims refusing to comply results in beatings or punishment that comes with hard labour.
Some victims ended up in hospital after being subjected to beatings and having water poured over them.
The government’s own investigations have now confirmed that the majority of prisoners became pregnant and were forced to have abortion, using hospital services of nurses assigned to the prison.
A commission of inquiry found that both prison guards and individuals outside the prison perpetrated the sexual abuse.
Elisa Samuel, who wrote up the findings, said in many cases it was the prison wardens who abused or enabled the rape of certain inmates.
“In other cases, [they] demanded sex in exchange of food, drugs or promises of differentiated treatment,” she added.
The prison officers used their power to impose their sexual “appetites and fetishes” and when that did not materialize, it resulted in the restriction of liberties and severe and inhumane punishments, including humiliation at parades.
“Women’s exploitation and other forms of sexual abuses committed against female inmates by some prison agents, as referred to in this report, constitute acts of torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment,” Ms Samuel said.