Seventeen people – including a 15-year-old boy – have been rescued from an illegal horror “gay addiction” clinic in Ecuador.
AFP reported that police found the patients in the Union and Hope drug, alcohol and homosexuality rehabilitation clinic in Pisuli being held captive in inhumane conditions.
Some of the victims were said to be “barely alive” and allegedly endured electro-shock therapy and torture in a bid to “cure” them of their homosexuality.
“These people were being held against their will, overcrowded, in degrading, unhealthy conditions,” an official told AFP. “They were sleeping on the floor. They had no sewer system.”
The victims were taken to proper medical facilities and seven people, including one government official, were arrested.
The authorities discovered the clinic in the search for a young man, David Romo, who has been missing since May. It is unclear if he was among the patients that were found at the centre.
Last week’s raid on the clinic was backed by the country’s Public Health Ministry which has been targeting underground gay “cure” clinics.
Nineteen other similar facilities have been shut down in the last 18 months in Ecuador as part of a campaign launched by openly lesbian Heath Minister, Carina Vance Mafla, in 2012.
At the time, activist groups claimed that over 200 “ex-gay” clinics “starve, abuse, and torture patients in an effort to make them straight”. Two deaths have been reported this year.