Detained and at Risk: Sexual Abuse and Harassment in United States Immigration Detention

Human Rights Watch's report Detained and at Risk offers a comprehensive overview of the issues of sexual safety of detainees in confinement in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. The report summarizes US laws and standards, known incidents and allegations, and highlights the significant challenges related to policy, implementation, and oversight. The report concludes by offering recommendations to officials.

Due to a shortage of publicly available data and the closed nature of the detention system, the extent to which ICE detainees are subject to sexual abuse nationwide is unclear, but the known incidents and allegations are too serious and too numerous to ignore. They point to an urgent need for investigation and for swift action to correct glaring gaps in detention policy, practice, and oversight. While ICE has made significant steps towards reform—including drafting new detention standards with the input of immigrant and detainee rights advocates—further steps, including publication of those standards and improvements in oversight and accountability to see that they are implemented, are still needed to ensure the safety and fair treatment of immigrants in detention.

Meghan Rhoad,
Human Rights Watch
Juvenile Facility
Lockup Facility
Prisons and Jails
Sexual abuse
Immigration detention facilities