Sunday, December 3

The Ombudsman investigates abuses of minors in care

Center for protected minors in Granada. / CR

Gabilondo requests information from all the autonomous communities and that they detail what protection measures they have adopted


The Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, has initiated an ex officio action with the competent administrations in social matters of all the autonomous communities, in addition to the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, to find out about possible cases of sexual exploitation of minors in care detected in each territory, as well as the specific protection measures adopted with respect to those affected.

Likewise, the Ombudsman has requested details on the application of the Plan Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents of the Child Protection System, approved by the Government and the autonomous communities on May 5. The objective of the Plan is to prevent sexual exploitation of children and adolescents under the guardianship or care of the administrations, improve care for victims, and structurally strengthen the protection system to prevent new cases from occurring in the future.

The Ombudsman requests information from the administrations about the actions and calendar planned to implement the different approved measures. The Institution has already initiated proceedings, in 2020 and at the beginning of 2022, before the Mallorcan Institute of Social Affairs and before the Ministry of Family, Youth and Social Policy of the Community of Madrid, after learning of cases of minors protected by those communities who had allegedly been victims of sexual abuse or exploitation.

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vulnerable youth

In recent years, on a recurring basis, multiple cases of sexual exploitation of girls and adolescents from protection centers in Palma de Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Alicante, Álava, Madrid and Guadalajara have been known. However, the investigations of the experts, such as the one carried out in 2017 by Unicef ​​in nine autonomies, indicate that it is a widespread irregularity, with cases that are silenced in most regions, so that the known scandals would be nothing more than the tip of the iceberg of widespread evil. They found episodes of sexual exploitation of protected minors in seven of the nine audited communities.

They are vulnerable young people, coming from dysfunctional families or in which they suffered abuse, whom the pimps introduce, often with tricks, blackmail and violence, into the world of prostitution, on too many occasions with the bait of the drugs to which they are hooked or mobile phones, clothing or small amounts of money.

“This is an extremely serious situation, which we live with great concern,” said the Secretary of State for Equality, Ángela Rodríguez, last February. “We have to guarantee that the reception system safeguards the rights of minors and that no public institution looks the other way,” added Nacho Álvarez, Secretary of State for Social Rights. Both ministries have promoted family foster care to combat trafficking in protected minors.

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