National 5.9.2016 05:29 pm

Update: Prisons turned into brothels are ‘a common trend’

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

‘It all depends on how the prison administrators handle it.’

South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights [SAPOHR] CEO Golden Miles Bhudu added to the allegations that Port Shepstone police holding cells in KwaZulu-Natal have turned into a brothel, saying this was a common trend around prisons in South Africa and around the world.

He said it all depended on how the prison administrators handled it.

“It’s a scourge which is unreported, unnoticed, unnoted and unspoken about until it happens at a prison, or prisons, where other inmates risk their safety, security, release date and leak the information to SAPOHR and other sources.”

He said this was indeed the violation of the women’s rights unless independent investigations said otherwise, depending on whether or not, for example, the sexual intercourse was consensual, the inmate was lured or blackmailed.

In seeking a collective effort to curb this problem, Bhudu said empowerment from organisations like SAPOHR and others in the field was needed.

Police sources who did not want to be named claimed prisoners were being allowed to buy sex from fellow prisoners, who were also sex workers, South Coast Herald reported.

The officers claimed their colleagues at the station were involved as middlemen.

Two female prisoners had apparently even fallen pregnant. One of them was then transferred to Westville Prison and a second to Port Shepstone Regional Hospital.

Out of seven holding cells, Cell 3 was said to be used by women who had been transferred from Hibberdene earlier this year.

Some prisoners are known as ‘runners’ who help with the distribution of food to other cells, and they are also the ‘messengers’ who inform the ‘middlemen’ if any prisoner wants sex, said the source.

Condoms are reportedly not used.

The sources said their superiors were aware of the problem, but there was no evidence, as cameras inside the station did not focus on the holding cells.

An internal investigation was conducted, but officers feared blowing the whistle on their colleagues.

Police spokesperson Captain Vincent Pandarum confirmed that Ugu cluster commander Major-General Agnes Nxamagele was aware of these allegations but that the sources could not be established.

“The female prisoners referred to also denied any knowledge of these activities,” said Pandarum.

“We invite the sources of these allegations to come forward with any information or evidence to substantiate their claims,” she added.

– Caxton News Service

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