Anti-corruption organisation the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) has revealed that for years prisoners from Ndlavela Women’s Penitentiary in the Mozambiquan capital, Maputo, have been taken to nearby guest houses to work as prostitutes for wealthy clients.
An investigation carried out revealed that inmates were being forced to have sex several times a week. The victims said if they refused to comply they were beaten or punished with hard labour.
One of the women who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed she had ended up in hospital after being beaten and having water poured over her – this tactic of plunging people into cold or dirty water is used by the security forces.
Other inmates also spoke about wanting to take their own lives. “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.”
The report also confirmed that prison guards were benefiting financially from the sexual exploitation and even advertised when there was a new inmate
“The payments go from US$50 to $500 per woman, it depends on what they called the quality of the woman, much younger the more expensive it will be.” explained one of the victims.
The women also alleged they were also being sexually abused by the prison guards. Statistics from 2019 show that Ndlavela Women’s Penitentiary had 125 inmates.
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.
Mozambiquan Justice Minister Mr Abdurremane Lino Almeida has promised that the government will thoroughly make further investigations.
By Eric Knight
Abdurremane Lino de Almeida