Human rights organizations on Monday denounced the number of hysterectomies carried out at a migrant detention center in the United States after one detainee described it as like "an experimental concentration camp."
Information about the operations emerged after a whistleblower revealed practices at the privately run Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, where some detainees are held under Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
"When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they're experimenting with our bodies," said one detainee interviewed by the Project South organization, which filed a complaint to the government.
The complaint also alleged "jarring medical neglect" during the Covid-19 pandemic, including a refusal to test detainees with symptoms and fabricating medical records.
It said that evidence raised "red flags regarding the rate at which hysterectomies are performed on immigrant women under ICE custody" at the center.
The whistleblower, a nurse at the facility, said that detained women told her they did not fully understand why they had to get a hysterectomy -- an operation involving the removal of all or part of the uterus.
"I've had several inmates tell me that they've been to see the doctor and they've had hysterectomies and they don't know why they went," she said.
She alleged about one doctor that "everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody," and that he removed the wrong ovary from one detainee.
Project South, the Georgia Detention Watch, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network filed the complaint on behalf of detained immigrants and the nurse.