The US state of Virginia has banned female prison visitors from wearing tampons to prevent drug smuggling (GEORGE FREY)

Washington (AFP) – Rights advocates on Tuesday blasted the state of Virginia for a “humiliating” new policy that bans female visitors to state prisons from wearing tampons or menstrual cups to prevent possible smuggling.

“Such a policy discourages those who wish to visit people who are incarcerated & requires them to set aside their dignity & health,” said the American Civil Liberties Union, the leading US rights group.

“This policy is not only invasive, it is discriminatory and humiliating,” the group said on Twitter.

The ACLU slammed the new policy, which was approved on Monday by the state corrections system, as “simply unacceptable.”

Prison visitors will be notified of the new policy and offered menstrual pads instead.

State prison officials say the ban is aimed at cracking down on drugs, which some women in the past have smuggled into the prison in their vaginas.

According to the new rules, the female prison visitors will have to submit to a body scan to ensure compliance.

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