A new report from Amnesty International has claimed that Mexican police and armed forces have sexually abused women to secure confessions during arrest and interrogation.
During the investigation, the human rights organisation surveyed 100 women, 72 of whom were found to be sexually abused and 33 were raped.
Many women also claimed to have been beaten, shocked with electricity, touched and groped during detention and interrogations.
Amnesty International Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas said: "Sexual violence used as a form of torture seems to have become a routine part of interrogations.
"Women from marginalised backgrounds are the most vulnerable in Mexico’s so-called ‘war on drugs.’
"They are usually seen as easy targets by authorities who are often more eager to show they are putting people behind bars than to ensure they are finding the real criminals."
Of the women interviewed, 49 ranked the medical attention they received after arrest as either ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’, while 19 ranked it as ‘mediocre’.
Amnesty also highlighted that more than 12,000 reports of torture and other ill-treatment were submitted to local and national ombudsman bodies across the country in 2013 alone, of which 8,943 possible victims were men and 3,618 were women.
Despite the high number of complaints, the army claimed that no soldiers had been suspended from service for rape or sexual violence between 2010 and 2015.
The navy reported that only four marines had been suspended during the same period.
Guevara-Rosas further added: "This failure to carry out proper investigations and bring those responsible to justice sends a dangerous message that raping women or using other forms of sexual violence to force confessions is tolerated and actually allowed.
"Mexican authorities seem determined to keep this issue in the dark."
Image: Female federal prison in Morelos state, Mexico. Photo: courtesy of Amnesty International USA.