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sex with female detainees filmed and circulated in the Nauru detention centre, social worker claims

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A former senior social worker at an Australian detention centre in Nauru has claimed that security guards filmed themselves having sex with detainees, who were allegedly paid to participate.

Charlotte Wilson, who was until February this year a Save the Children case manager at the Nauru detention centre, made a submission to the Senate inquiry investigating abuse at the facility, saying that the ‘solicitation’ of asylum seekers was common knowledge between employees and it was ‘acknowledged in management meetings between service providers.’

Ms Wilson detailed the behaviour that took place at the centre, saying: ‘it was also established that these acts had been filmed and circulated around Wilson staff…I was also told that because prostitution is legal on Nauru that no action was being taken against the staff members involved.’

It appears that the detainees suffered devastating mental abuse at the centre, with Ms Wilson revealing that she witnessed a security guard informing a group Somali women that if they escaped they would be ‘raped by the local boys’.

She also outlined the emotional strain placed on the woman, saying that some had stopped menstruating and were dealing with ‘hair loss due to the stress on their bodies’. She claimed to have dealt with detainees who were experiencing ‘complete breakdowns in their mental health.’

‘Prolonged deprivation of freedom, abuse of power, confinement in an extremely harsh environment, uncertainty of future, disempowerment, loss of privacy and autonomy and inadequate health and protection services’ had resulted in ‘profound damage’ to detainees,  Ms Wilson said.

The March review into sexual abuse at Nauru detention centre supports Ms Wilson’s allegations, as it found evidence of rape, sexual assault of minors, and guards exchanging goods for sexual favours.

The independent inquiry had come after former immigration minister Scott Morrison removed Save the Children staff from the island, after his own department had alleged they ‘had aided protests and coached detainees to fabricate abuse claims.’

However, former integrity minister Phillip Moss dismissed the claims against the Save the Children staff following a review into the matter.

‘I felt disbelief when my colleagues were stood down,’ said Ms Wilson.

She strongly believes their dismissal ‘was related to the protests’, arguing that protesting was the best way for the detainees to express themselves when they felt they had nowhere else to go.

Ian Rintoul, Spokesman for the Refugee Action Collective, added strength to Ms Wilson’s allegations, telling the Daily Mail that these claims are not the first of their type and that ‘this simply adds to the immense amount of information that horrific sexual abuse is rife on Nauru. From the minister to the police, everybody in complicit and nobody has done anything to rectify it.’

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