Egyptian police are using dating apps to ensnare LGBTQ+ individuals, according to a report by the BBC. Although same-sex relations are not illegal in the country, a law against “debauchery,” commonly used to prosecute sex work, is being used to target people seeking same-gender partners. In some cases, police officers have created fake profiles to ensnare app users and fabricate evidence against them, the report states.
“Simply using a dating app can be grounds for arrest,” the BBC reports. In some instances, police have made it appear that app users are offering sex for money, making the cases easier to prosecute. Some of those targeted have faced physical abuse, forced confessions, and fabricated evidence. Foreign visitors have also been targeted by police.
Egyptian government officials have acknowledged using the police to target the LGBTQ+ community. In 2017, a mass arrest of individuals raising a rainbow flag at a concert led to forced anal exams and other mistreatment.