Torture is a global health and
human rights concern.
Documented to occur in more than 130 countries, torture affects an enormous range of individuals, including democracy activists, ethnic minorities, journalists, health professionals, and school teachers. Over 200,000 survivors of torture are believed to reside in the United States. New York City, with its large immigrant population, may well be home to more victims of torture and political violence than any other city in the United States.
Among human rights abuses, torture is one of the most traumatic and destructive human experiences. The purpose of torture, through the infliction of severe physical or mental suffering, is to break the will of the victim and ultimately to destroy his or her humanity.
Torture can have devastating consequences for the victim's physical and mental well-being. Physical symptoms can range from joint and muscle pain to neurological damage. Psychological sequelae of torture can include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
In 2019 there are 70 million refugees worldwide – a 57% increase since 2013. UNHCR estimates that as many as 35% have been tortured.
44% of refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers in the United States (or close to 2 million people) are primary or secondary survivors of torture.