Human rights groups estimate that during the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 up to 30,000 people were 'disappeared' by the state: kidnapped and taken to secret detention centers where they were tortured and killed. One such detention center was at the former naval campus known as the ESMA, where some 5000 men and women were held. Today the complex serves as a memorial to the victims and houses museums, cultural centers and the offices of several human rights organizations.
The actual building where the secret detention center was located is now an excellent – though harrowing – museum. Due to the museum's disturbing subject matter, children under 12 are not permitted.