Mexico`s police and armed forces routinely torture and mistreat women, sometimes using sexual violence during arrest and interrogation, Amnesty International wrote in a damning report released on Tuesday.
The rights group interviewed 100 women who reported violence during arrest, all of whom described having been the victim of some form of sexual harassment or psychological abuse. Seven in ten of the women reported sexual violence during arrest or in the hours that followed.
The types of mistreatment the women were subjected to included blows to the stomach and head, threats of rape directed either at them or their families, near-asphyxiation, electric shocks to the genitals, groping and rape.
"Police appear to be using them as easy targets for the arrest to boost figures and show society that the government`s security efforts are yielding results," said an Amnesty International statement.
"The women subjected to such violence are mostly young and from low-income backgrounds. The multiple and intersecting discrimination these women face because of their gender, age, and socio-economic situation increases their risk of being arbitrarily arrested and tortured or ill-treated," the statement said.
The report found that many women arrested and imprisoned are single parents and face discrimination simply for not conforming to widely accepted gender expectations, such as having a male partner.
Sex workers in Mexico also often find themselves at risk of torture and ill-treatment during arrest or in detention, the report said, as do women who are bisexual or lesbian.