The Home Office is refusing to reveal how many women have been raped and sexually abused inside a privately run immigration detention centre -- because it might harm “commercial interests”.
The hundreds of women detained at Yarl’s Wood have come to the UK seeking refuge. Many of them have fled war in their own countries -- and 70% of them are rape survivors.
Now many of them report being raped and sexually abused by the very people who should be protecting them: the staff at Yarl’s Wood. But we don’t know how many. The Home Office is refusing to release the information -- saying it could “prejudice the commercial interests” of the private companies running Yarl’s Wood, like Serco.
Let’s tell the Home Office it should be doing everything in its power to protect the women in its care -- not Serco’s profits.
Ask the Home Office to put people’s safety over corporate profits and release the information now.
Last year, a report found that more than half of the women detained at Yarl’s Wood feel unsafe. Allegations of rape, sexual abuse and intimidation at the centre are rife. And some of the alleged victims have been deported after speaking up -- before they could testify to police.
The Home Office is obliged by law to disclose information that’s in the public interest. Yet instead of opening Yarl’s Wood up to public scrutiny so it can stop the abuse, the government seems to be complicit in allowing it to continue. Last year, it refused let the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women into Yarl’s Wood -- and now it’s refusing to release crucial information that could help to expose, and ultimately stop, sexual abuse at the centre.
SumOfUs was created to hold corporations to account -- not least, those corporations that our capturing our public services. Serco runs everything from detention centres to hospital services in the UK. It needs to be held to the highest possible standards of accountability -- but instead, the government is working to protect Serco’s corporate interests over the interests of every woman in Yarl’s Wood, and the wider public interest.
Let’s tell the Home Office to stop pandering to Serco’s commercial interests, and release the data about sexual violence at Yarl’s Wood.