Female prisoners in Mozambique are being forced into prostitution by staff of prison facilities, according to Anti-corruption organisation the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP).
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.
One woman told an investigator that she ended up in hospital after one of such beatings and having water poured over her.
These harsh treatments are meted out to these inmates by the security forces.
For some inmates, there have been times they had wished to have committed suicide.
“There were times when I went out for four days straight,” an inmate said, adding that if she had not: “I wouldn’t be here anymore.”
Borges Nhamirre, who co-ordinated the investigation, said their research showed this had been going on for 10 years.
Nhamirre told the BBC that “It was like a formal business happening in jail, we do not understand how the board of the jail, the commanders could not notice that there is something very strange happening”.
He claimed that the prison guards were benefiting financially from the sexual exploitation.
“The payments go from $50 (£35) to $500 per woman, it depends on what they called the quality of the woman, much younger the more expensive it will be.”
The CIP has called for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up to look into their findings – to include the public prosecutor’s office, MPs and human rights defence organisations.
The country’s justice minister has said the revelation would be investigated and action taken.