Gay and Trans migrants held at an immigration facility in New Mexico have been subjected to “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse,” advocates and lawyers claimed in aletter released Monday.
The letter sent to immigration authorities and the warden of Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico describe about how gay men and trans women were subject to both physical and mental abuse and placed in solitary confinement — or threatened with solitary — after complaining about conditions.
The letter included an incident about a 20-year-old gay man from Honduras was repeatedly groped when he was detained at Otero and asked to perform sexual favors in exchange for food.
“When I complained, I was thrown into solitary confinement for five days and threatened with further punishment if I complained again,” he said, according to the release.
Guards also allegedly interrupted showers and offered to help transgender women bathe, according to the letter. Medical staff allegedly refused to provide hormones to three of the women.
Management & Training Corporation, the private company that operates Otero, said that it follows ICE’s transgender detainee guidelines and “is not aware of any incidents at the facility that even come close to these allegations.”
“And any implication that management was aware of any harassment or discrimination against transgender individuals or any other individuals is not true,” the statement says. “We have no evidence of rampant sexual harassment, discrimination, abuse, denying proper medical care to transgender detainees, and no evidence of retaliation and improper use of solitary confinement.”