eMallorca is shaken by the sexual abuse of home children. The responsible Mallorcan social authority of the Spanish holiday island (IMAS) admitted after several advertisements and media reports that one was aware of several cases. On the holiday and party island, 16 residents, 15 girls and a boy were found to be seduced by prostitution for years due to inaction by the authorities. Social workers, who were quoted on Wednesday by the newspaper “Diario de Mallorca”, described this number as strongly understated and criticized the authorities. The affair sparked outrage and horror in Palma and throughout Spain.
The staff sharply criticized the authorities. âWe have been displaying these conditions for more than three years. But the IMAS has not taken any action, âsaid a social worker. It is “not about a few dozen victims”, but many more. In some homes almost all underage residents are tempted to prostitute. Mostly children between 13 and 17 years are affected. They all have no parents or come from very difficult backgrounds – and are therefore particularly vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation.
According to this, other minor roommates often acted as “matchmakers” to get small sums of money or drugs. But adults should also not only be involved in the scandal as customers, but also as organizers. It is not yet known whether an organized crime ring is behind the exploitation. The fact that girls were not only seduced into prostitution, but also forced to face violence is not excluded.
Children’s homes in Mallorca are often poorly managed
Against this background, the experts quoted by “Diario de Mallorca” accuse the authorities of “absolute negligence”. Criticism does not only come from social workers. Lawyers dealing with abuse in homes also said “El Mundo” that these facilities were “poorly managed” in Palma. Those responsible often looked away when a thirteen or fourteen year old disappeared from a home for days.
According to IMAS, there have been a few measures. In two cases, the minors affected had been moved to homes in mainland Spain, for example. According to the regional ministry of social affairs, five home workers – four women and one man – have been fired without notice for “inappropriate sexual behavior” in the past three years. Four of these employees have been reported, Minister Fina Santiago said of the Ultima Hora newspaper. On request, the authority did not want to give any further comments on the allegations by the social workers on Wednesday.
The public debate about the conditions in children’s and youth homes in Mallorca has been going on for a few days. It was triggered by an allegation of rape of a 13-year-old girl. The resident is said to have been raped by several young people on Christmas Eve in the island’s capital, Palma. She testified to the police that she had received several offers to prostitute herself before the rape. The Madrid newspaper “El Mundo” wrote on Wednesday, according to the girl at the police in Palma, of a “descent to hell”, of a “dangerous spiral of sex and drugs”. So far, seven youths and one adult have been arrested in connection with the ad.
It has been an open secret on the island for years that the conditions in the 30 children’s and youth homes on Mallorca, which currently house 359 minors, are sometimes very bad compared to other Spanish regions.
Also in the so-called Ballermann, the Playa de Palma, where especially German tourists like to go on vacation, underage prostitutes have been taken up again and again in recent years. According to a study by the State Institute of Forensic Medicine and Security (ICFS) in 2019, only the North Africa exclave Melilla has a higher rate of sexual abuse in Spain than the Balearic Islands.
Socialist regional president Francina Armengol, who has been ruling in Palma since 2015, spoke of a grievance that has been attempted since the beginning of her term in office. Most recently, there were 2.8 reported cases of sexual abuse per 100,000 inhabitants on the islands – and the trend is rising.