NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Human Rights Bahamas (HRB) yesterday called for the immediate removal of all male officers from the Department of Immigration’s “safe house” and demanded a full investigation into claims of sexual assault of detainees at the facility.
The call follows recent allegations by a 27-year-old Surinamese woman that she was drugged and raped by an immigration officer.
The allegations were outlined in a writ filed in the Supreme Court on May 11, which claimed the woman was unlawfully arrested, falsely imprisoned, assaulted, battered, drugged, sexually assaulted, raped, sodomized and deprived of her constitutional rights.
“This comes as the highly disturbing allegations of a detainee being drugged and raped by a male officer are now being compounded with new information reaching HRB, suggesting a series of similar attacks on female victims at that facility in the past several months,” the advocacy group said in a statement.
“A picture is emerging, is not of one or two isolated incidents, but rather an organized, practiced and premeditated scheme of drugging and raping detainees, perpetrated by a small group of officers.
“Information from former detainees also reveals a highly toxic wider culture of drunkenness and predatory behavior among the male officers generally, who regularly sexually harass and intimidate female detainees, watch them while they are showering and violate their right to privacy, safety and dignity in countless other ways. Meanwhile, the female officers look the other way.