Original photo: Jon Ridinger / Wikimedia

  • No one knows the exact number of torture survivors now living in the United States, but estimates are high.
  • Estimates for the number of survivors of torture living in the United States are based on studies, which show 5% to 35% of refugees coming each year show signs of torture (Wenzel et al, 2007). In addition to these numbers, there are many others who come seeking asylum.
  • Figures from the Office of Refugee Resettlement published in 2005, showed that from 1975 to 2005 -- 2,511,061 refugees entered the United States.
  • Recent information shows that the numbers of refugees entering the United States since 1975 exceeds three million. (rcusa.org / history, U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, accessed 7/10/2014)
  • Estimations of the number of torture survivors in the United States are complicated. The following paragraph was published in 2004 and does not include recent information from studies showing even higher percentages of torture survivors:

    Few studies have estimated the prevalence of exposure to torture among detainees. Paker, Paker, and Yüksel (1992) found, in a study of 246 long-term prisoners in one Turkish prison, that 208 (85%) had been tortured. Studies of torture prevalence in refugee populations or even in national surveys are more abundant and summarized in Table 3.4. Studies of national samples show a prevalence ranging from 8 to30%, studies in near-area refugee settings from 3–16%, and studies in Western refugee settings from 18 to76% (provided those that witnessed torture were considered torture victims as well). Too many uncertainties are attached to the measurements presented to allow clear general conclusions to be drawn; there are differences in assessment method, selection mechanisms, and composition of the study populations. However, the studies of composite refugee populations in Western settings can share selection mechanisms, and the available estimates are relatively close, based upon large samples. In conclusion, 10 to 30% of refugees in Western settings are torture victims. 

    - Modvig and Jaranson in Broken Spirts: The treatment of traumatized asylum seekers, refugees, war and torture victims. New York: Brummer-Routledge Press, pp. 609–36.

  • Torture treatment centers have closed and many other centers struggle to stay open. In the last three years, at least four torture treatment programs have closed due to lack of funding. Many others are just managing to keep their doors open. (Data from NCTTP, 2013)
  • Web References on migration:

Website design by NeoSoft