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Ecuador Addiction Centers

Ecuador Addiction Centers

“Trust me.”

These are words that we have come to distrust! This is sad because as humans we need to trust someone or something.

NYT photo

Photo from New York Times website.

See how this photo of a burned down house in New York relates to a problem in Ecuador… and Mexico and Costa Rica… Asia and I suspect more.

This rehab center practices deceitful and pressure marketing towards needy, unsuspecting families and individuals desperate enough and looking for a treatment program for their loved ones. The director is a liar who will promise anything to lure people into giving her their credit card number…

Numerous readers passed on an email sent by an NGO about torture of lesbians in Ecuador.

I received numerous notes similar to this that said:  Hi Gary,  Having lived in Ecuador in my youth I was astonished to read that there are over two hundred torture “clinics” in the country, often run by “ex-” drug addicts for the destruction of sexual minorities.

I’m bilingual and searched to find, surprisingly, relatively little online periodical coverage there.  On average Ecuadoreans used to be a gentle people.  How is this supported…under some religiosity banner that says that rape, mayhem and torture are the best response to relatively small variations in personal identity?  Thanks, I look forward to your thoughts,

I replied: We have found the Ecuadorians to be wonderful people also and we had never heard of this in 15 + years in Ecuador. So we were shocked as well.  There are many same gender couples we know in Ecuador and I have never heard of them having any problem. We are researching and will have a message at our site soon.  What we have found so far is that this is not something approved of by the Ecuadorian government or by most of the people of Ecuador.  This is similar to American soldiers being ordered to torture prisoners… under the name of “advanced interrogation techniques”.   Most Americans did not know.  Most did not approve.

I began to research and found really complicated issues that are drawn together by numerous common threads.  Let’s follow these treads and see where they lead because these centers do represent a problem. Yet it a social/economic dilemma that goes way beyond Ecuador.

First, I was surprised to learn that problems in rehab centers do exist and that some Ecuadorians feel that lesbianism is an addiction.

I wrote to numerous contacts in Ecuador to see if such places exist.

An European expat from Cotacachi with experience in the health care area wrote:  Hi Everyone,  I live here in Ecuador and have not heard anything about this very serious accusation. I am not saying that this is not happening but frankly find it extremely hard to believe given the fact that the Ecuadorian government is quite open and transparent about just about everything.

An American Doctor who lives in Cuenca emailed: I checked around and can confirm that this is happening here in Ecuador. The local media recently interviewed women who had been in the “clinics”. It’s being dealt with by the gov’t but not as fast as would be hoped for.

A European expat who live son the coast wrote:  Gary, yes there has been some talks about these clinics.  I am not sure if I would call them “torture clinics” but they do try to treat homosexuality. Parents (and I guess even homosexuals themselves) believe that by attending these treatments they can cure their homosexuality.  I am not sure if they are common but I guess most of them are located in Manabí were the macho society believes homosexuality is a disease.

A Quito based Ecuadorian  businessman wrote:  I need to double check on this. But I have someone who works to protect women and is telling me that the story is true. Plus there are several trials against the Ecuadorian government. According to my source they do exist in Ecuador.

An Ecuadorian attorney who lives in a provincial capital wrote: Hi Gary,  I had never heard of this before, but I was asking around after reading your e mail and a colleague tells me it is true. I told her that I knew about this type of “practice“ in rehab clinics for alcoholics and drug addicts and she said they are the same clinics where gays and lesbians are put in for “treatment“.   There some very good rehab clinics, but others are clandestine and the government does not know they exist as this one your reader is mentioning. People really need to be cautious  My suggestion is that if any one knows about these ilegal clinics they can denounce the case to the Ministry of Public Health and/or CONSEP which is the Consejo Nacional de Sustancias Estupefacientes y Psicotropicas which are the two entities in charge of granting the permits and making sure these clinics operate according to the law. There is an office of each institution in every province.

These replies suggest that rehab clinics do exist in Ecuador.  Some of them use questionable practices and some Ecuadorians believe that homosexuality is a disease.   Apparently most Ecuadorians do not know about the bad practices and there does not appear to be any extensive government program to shut the bad ones down.

My research did not stop there.   Rehab centers exist everywhere and I found similar problems in Mexico, Costa Rica and the USA.  Even worse stuff as you’ll see below in Asia.  I suspect if I researched Europe, Africa and Canada… I would find added problems.

Let’s follow the thread.

Numerous notes in ripoff report, heal-online and complaints board show horror stories of rehab centers in the US, Mexico and Costa Rica described as “teen torture centers”.  I have included links below if you would like yet another reason to cry.

One website linked below says: Located in Arizona near the Mexican border this center is highly suspected of being a teen torture facility.  They use the typical and abusive behavior modification/thought reform phase system to forcibly change a child’s beliefs and personality.  It looks to be a basic slave/labor camp.  These ranchers get free labor that they can exploit and abuse while charging families big money.  The website plays into the scapegoating of children by taking all responsibility off the parents or family dynamic and blaming the child.

Another page about a California center says: Parents have launched a number of complaints and the county prosecutor’s …. he shouldn’t have, cussing, smoking, drugs, sexual encounters with older girls. … According to multiple former employees: This lockdown rehabilitation facility is confirmedly abusive.  A child was killed by staff at this facility.

I have linked a Youtube site that shows the horrors of a Costa Rica and Mexican center.

Another video liked below shows children being tortured in California and a US programs aimed at changing gays.

At one link you’ll see this is not just happening to teens:  “Insurance Fraud & Molestation! Malibu California! After having been involved in a severe car accident, I was referred to this physical therapist by my primary physician. Though he wasn’t highly recommended, it was conveniently close to my home.
After receiving my insurance statement in the mail, I noticed a high amount of these visits to physical therapy. Thinking it was a fluke, I called my insurance company to inquire. It just so happened that the physical therapy office charged numerous visits on dates I didn’t receive therapy.

I confronted their staff regarding the matter and requested full documentation. The print out only had dates on it that I had been present, so a little relief came as I reverted back to the idea that the insurance had an error. I went in that day for my normal treatment, and knowing I am uncomfortable (as I had a lower spine injury) the therapist was aware that I didn’t like to be touched or massaged certain places.

Nearly five minutes into my therapy session, this so called therapist is pushing down on my injury and sliding his hands between my legs. (Never had that been a routine in my therapy) I figured he’s lift my leg to align my back or something… and to my shock and fear his hands had wandered all the way up! It is disturbing for me to share this experience, but I feel it’s mandatory so that he can prey upon no other victims! After filing a police report, they basically stated that he would get off saying it was part of therapy.

This problem does not stop at rehab centers but extends to other institutions of trust.

The photo above is of a 2009 fire in Wells, N.Y., that killed four disabled residents and a November 5, 2011 New York Times article by Danny Hakim and Russ  Buettner entitled “In State Care, 1,200 Deaths and Few Answers.”  The article begins:  For James Michael Taylor, an evening bath became a death sentence.

Mr. Taylor, who was 41 and a quadriplegic, had little more ability than a newborn baby to lift his head. Bathing him required the constant attention of a staff member at the group home for the developmentally disabled where he lived, near Schenectady, N.Y.

One summer night in 2005, a worker lowered Mr. Taylor into the tub, turned on the water and left the room. Over the next 15 minutes, the water slowly rose over his head. He drowned before anyone returned.

Joan Taylor, his mother, remembers the words her husband said as dirt was shoveled onto their son’s grave.

“This is the last time they’re going to dump on you,” he told his dead son.

James Taylor’s death was no aberration.

In New York, it is unusually common for developmentally disabled people in state care to die for reasons other than natural causes.

One in six of all deaths in state and privately run homes, or more than 1,200 in the past decade, have been attributed to either unnatural or unknown causes, according to data obtained by The New York Times that has never been released.

Abuse experts say the common denominators in many such crimes are parents willing to allow noted people to have unrestricted access to their kids.

The bolds are mine because this is where these many threads lead us to parents not having or taking time to stay tuned to their kids… to a society so stressed moms and dads have to raise latch key kids…. to families who must turn over the care of their ill and elderly to uncaring institutions… to businesses so bent on selling stuff that they swamp the youth and create peer pressures hard for parents to resists…. to states that override parents concerns… to politicians who go for the buck… to a society so imbalanced that many turn to addictions and drugs… to an educational system that fails… to prejudices that do not go away…  to sick societies where the positive and negative within humans clashing in their normal routine.

This is a lot of bad stuff. Thank God for those who care enough to write about it and shed light on a dark problem.

Some rehab centers in Ecuador and other places may be bad.  Most people in Ecuador… and globally do not know this.  Overall Ecuadorians are good, kind and gentle people. Let’s hope that these revelations will lead them in the right direction… as well as those who now know about these problems in their own countries.


Links about terrible stuff.

Horrors at a Costa Rica and Mexican rehab center.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp9OTkwryL4&feature=player_embedded







I was not satisfied though so put a researcher on this to get even more.

Here is his report:

Gary here is the full information about this, sad to inform that it is true, those clinics do exist in Ecuador.

I have removed the names of the “victims” and the clinics as requested by the lawyer since this still an ongoing investigation and we don’t want to jeopardize either the trial or the well being of the alleged victims. I did receive the names from the clinics and the alleged victims, so we know for fact that they were abused at some extent, we can not share that information.

It is troubling to discuss this matter, mainly because the two sides on the story go after each other and some tend to exaggerate the actual situation in order to be more appealing. That said, there are several accounts on these clinics (to “cure” homosexuality) around the mainstream media and by non profit organizations.

What complicates the investigation is that some of this clinics also treat alcoholics and drug addicts. What they claim is that you can’t trust this people, since they have some type of addiction the clinics say that they are pathological liars and try to exaggerate things so their guardians take them out of the clinics.

To some extent this is true in some cases, where people in this clinics try to get away by saying that they have been or are being mistreated. But we don’t know if this is happening for sure.

The Ecuadorian government investigates these clinics in order to make sure that no abuses happen, so far they issue certificates and provide permits for this clinics to work, it is a huge fight, but it is on the best interest of guardians and the government to police this places and make sure that they work.

Clinics to treat homosexuals are not allowed to exist. Some of them are hidden and others work to treat drug addicts and alcoholics and take other “patients”. The ones that are hidden are easy to close up, the government has being doing that and several clinics are no longer working. They other ones are not that easy since it is a matter of believing the “patients” and their accounts.

I have two cases of two ladies that have entered by the request of their parents to one of this clinics, they are suing them so they can get out. Now, one non-profit organization is taking on this legally to allow them to leave. We don’t know yet where this will go since it is an ongoing investigation.

There are several other people trying to get out too, but they main concern is not that this clinics do exist, but that there is an huge demand for them. So same as with drugs, as longs as there is customers there will be drug dealers.

This clinics could be closed several times, but they will go around the law, hidden in the dark and will still offer a “service”. What could get things out of hand is that Ecuador does not track them down and be severe with the  punishment, because if they fail to do so, then people will look for Ecuador to find those clinics.

The clinics do exist, there is a tabu around it so there are few accounts on the media about them, not many people are coming forward and also the family or guardians are the ones pushing to this treatment to happen.

The harsh treatment, the accounts of rape and brutal abuse are shown in these trials. The victims are claiming that this has happened to them, but since there is no verdict we can’t say that they are true or not.

It is a little tricky to make sense of this, but the extent to which this affects Ecuador is minimal. It would be like saying don’t go to Europe because they sell drugs in bad neighborhoods. Ecuador is taking steps to prevent this clinics and also non-profict organizations are going after them as well, publicly, which creates national awareness on this matter.

At no point we can claim that in Ecuador we are allowing this clinics or that the law allows them to work, and that local authorities want Ecuador to become a paradise for this type of clinics to “treat homosexuality”. They are working hard on preventing this to be widespread.

There is a foundation who is actively pursuing the liberation of the alleged victims, they have lawyers working hard on getting “Abeas Corpus” in order to “free” them from this clinics. As said by the lawyer “it is really hard to go after this clinics, the victims have been found drugged and are unaware of what is happening, plus since they are sent by family members it is even harder to get them out, even if they want to. They also said that they think that there are around 27 clinics that treat “homosexuality” around the country, most of them treat alcoholism and drug addicts, so they are disguised behind that facade.

This is a serious matter that is getting more and more attention from the local media. I am including a video, a link (from a serious magazine) and a open latter by CAUSANA, who is going after these clinics.

No more can I say about this, there is no way to see if this is widespread or could damage Ecuador’s image around the world, since most of the clinics have permits and the families are responsible for taking the “patients”  there. The responsibility bares mostly on the families because they not only take them to the clinics, deny the reason why they are there and also testify against the alleged victims. We also find it really difficult to determine whether some of the “patiences” of this clinics are drug addicts and alcoholics and just try to get out with whatever means they can.

Link to a local magazine, which is serious and does extensive investigations before publishing a story.


This is what I have found on this matter. I hope it helps.

Here is a link to an interview to one the the alleged victims by one of the biggest TV stations in Ecuador.

Prejudice, ignorance, cruelty, harshness, hatred, indifference, meanness, mercilessness and tyranny  seem to be ingrained in human nature and are global problems that I regret you’ll find in Ecuador and all the other 71 nations I have visited, lived and worked in over the past 43 years.  Yet I find the majority of Ecuadorians more friendly and caring than in most countries so this little bit of bad should not obscure a large amount of good?

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