Ecuador shocked by inhumane practices at gay conversion clinics
QUITO, Pichincha (AFP) - Sent to a centre offering to "cure" her attraction to women, Denisse Freire was raped and tortured - in a practice Ecuadoran authorities admit has been tolerated for too long.
The country of 15.8 million people has at least 80 unlicensed drug and alcohol rehab clinics, many that are also used for anti-gay conversion therapy, Health Minister Carina Vance, who is openly gay, said.
Two people, admitted for addiction issues, died last year at the clandestine centres, she told foreign reporters at a press conference, adding that authorities have begun to crack down.
At these centres, "we have reports of physical attacks, the use of ice water on inmates," Ms Vance said. "We have lesbians who have reported what the clinics called 'sex therapy,' but which consists of being raped by men," the minister said.