SA prisoners 'used as sex slaves'

2014-03-09 09:13
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town - At least 12 local women are being treated as sex slaves in a Mozambique prison while the South African government reportedly does nothing to protect them.

According to the Sunday Times, these women were all arrested after arriving at the Maputo International Airport from either India or Brazil and found to be in possession of drugs.

The alleged drug mules – some of whom have been incarcerated in Cadeia Central de Maputo since 2011 – are being denied basic rights but are forced to have sex with warders in exchange for soap and bread.

During a visit to the prison by the Sunday Times, reporters witnessed off-duty warders visiting prisoners whom they described as their girlfriends.

In addition to this, many of the women claimed they had already served out their sentences but were unable to pay warders bribes in order to be released. Even state-appointed attorneys, whose services are supposed to be free, were demanding fees of up to R100 000 from them.

Criticism of Mozambique prisons

At the end of last year the Mozambican government accepted criticism of its prisons after a damning report by the London-based rights group Amnesty International.

"Not a week goes by without a disciplinary hearing against a prison guard," said Justice Minister Benvinda Levi

"Problems exist. For us, even a single case is a concern that deserves our attention but at the same time, we need to be careful to remember that 7 000 prisoners pass through our prison system every year," she added.

This came after Amnesty International released a report in which it claimed that thousands of prisoners were languishing in Mozambique's prisons without charge or access to proper legal representation.

The report catalogued a slew of alleged abuses, from detention of minors and prison overcrowding to arbitrary arrests and police torture.

The rights group said one Mozambican man spent 12 years inside a maximum security prison without ever being told why he had been arrested or appearing in court.

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Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa
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