Yarl’s Wood is one of the notorious immigration detention centres where migrants are held, sometimes for months, before being deported from the UK. People are held in unsanitary, prison-like conditions, sometimes without proper access to food and healthcare. They face violence and racist abuse from the guards, especially during ‘removals’, when many are beaten on the way to the airport, before being put aboard planes with no chance of bringing the perpetrators to justice. Many of the women who seek refuge here are rape survivors, and UK policy is that rape survivors should not be locked up in detention centres. In practice, though, many are imprisoned. The government has finally realised that detaining children in these conditions is detrimental to their well-being. But this has meant that many mothers are separated from their children, as they are detained whilst their children are taken into care. Contrary to what the tabloids would have us believe, it is very difficult to receive leave to remain in the UK. Many people who come here, fleeing war and persecution, are sent back to countries where it is patently unsafe. The ‘Fast Track’ system means that certain asylum applications are fast-tracked so that people from certain countries that are deemed to be safe have little time to gather corroborating evidence before submitting an appeal, which is consequently rejected. This is despite the fact that countries on the ‘safe’ list are ones where female genital mutilation, honour killings, sexual slavery, rape and severe domestic violence affect many women.
There is more general information about refugees available from this site.