Police in Spain have arrested two Moroccan migrant men for allegedly sexually abusing at least eight girls, including three minors, in the town of Elda, Alicante during the yearly festival which celebrates pivotal victories of the Christians over the Moors in the Spanish Reconquista.
The alleged sexual assaults were reported to have taken place at around 3:40 a.m. on Monday, June 6th, with the young female victims recounting to police how they had been enjoying themselves at the festival before they were accosted and molested by the two suspects, aged 21 and 31, the Spanish news portal OK Dario reports.
Shortly after, several units from the Elda National Police Station arrived at the scene and promptly managed to identify and arrest one of the alleged perpetrators with the assistance of the victims. A little while later, after receiving another call from a young woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted, authorities tracked down the alleged aggressor, who was then identified as the second perpetrator of the previous attack.
Upon further investigation into the matter—and after taking statements from the group of victims—authorities linked the victim to other young women who had reported similar sexual assaults the night before. At this stage of the investigation, police have identified a total of eight victims, three of whom are underage. Authorities, however, have not ruled out the possibility that there are additional victims of sexual assault.
The eight victims were subsequently treated by agents of the Family and Women’s Unit (UFAM) of the Judicial Police Brigade, which has played—and continues to play—a central role in the investigation.
Interestingly—and perhaps coincidentally, or not—the UFAM, was established in December of 2015 only months after the peak of the European Migrant Crisis. As a unit within the National police, the UFAM not only specializes in combatting gender, domestic, and sexual violence but also promotes initiatives to improve care for victims.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.