After 100,000 people join campaign on Change.org, Ecuador’s Ministry of Health agrees to investigate and close ex-gay torture clinics throughout the country
Ecuador’s Ministry of Health has begun investigating and closing hundreds of underground ex-gay torture clinics after more than 100,000 people joined an online campaign on Change.org.
Fundacion Causana, Taller de Comunicacion Mujer, and Artikulacion Esporadika, a coalition of leading Ecuadorian women’s rights activists, started the campaign on Change.org after working with women who had escaped what they call “torture clinics.” Many of these women cite widespread physical and psychological abuse including verbal threats, shackling, days without food or water, sexual abuse, and physical torture.
“After years of campaigning about the practice of torture rehab clinics that claim to cure homosexuality, the Ecuadorian government has committed to deconstructing the belief that homosexuality is a sickness,” said Fundacion Causana representative Karen Barba. “Using Change.org, we were able to achieve victory in closing down ex-gay torture clinics.”
Before resigning from his position earlier this month, Minister of Health Dr. David Chirriboga announced the Ecuadorian government would investigate and close all torture clinics in the country, launch a national advertising and awareness campaign against homophobia, and develop a crisis hotline for victims.
“The Ministry of Public Health, the governing body of Ecuador’s health sector, is committed to strengthening the measures and institutions that contribute to the eradication of abusive practices such as the supposed treatment of homosexuality,” Dr. Chirriboga said. “The Ecuadorian government rejects such practices as criminal and in direct conflict with the individual freedoms granted to all our citizens.”
Dr. Chiriboga will be replaced by Carina Vance, former executive director of Fundacion Causana and respected a gay rights activist in Ecuador. Under her leadership, three raids have already taken place in the Quito area, and dozens of women have been rescued.