POLICE in Madrid have arrested 37 people over suspected involvement in a ring that targeted underage girls for sexual abuse, child prostitution and child pornography.
Among those arrested and facing charges for sex abuse and abduction, is a Dominican YouTube rap singer, known as Saymol Fyly, who has more than 150,000 subscribers and allegedly used his fame to attract young girls.
Police said there were at least ten victims aged between 14 and 16 who were forced into drug taking and prostitution after being targeted by the criminal gang.
The investigation centered on the distressing testimony of a young woman who walked into a tobacconist in the Usera district in the south of Madrid telling the person behind the counter that she had escaped after being locked in a room for three days and raped.
Authorities at Madrid’s Child Services raised the alarm after noticing tell-tale suspicious behaviour among some of the minors in their care.
Police were told in April that some young girls who had been running away from their homes and returned were wearing new clothes and had expensive mobile phones.
The Policia Nacional opened an investigation which revealed that at least three other underage girls who have since been placed under the care of social services in the region had also been exploited by the same ring.
The police found that the alleged perpetrators targeted vulnerable minors through social networks, offering them money in exchange for drug sales.
In some cases they were forced to deliver the drugs on scooters and were told to have sex with clients.
On other occasions the detainees are alleged to have transferred some of the girls to the Marconi Industrial estate in Madrid, a common area for street prostitution, where they were forced to have sex.
Others were forced to have sex in the basement of a hairdresser’s salon on Monte Igueldo street, in Madrid’s Puente de Vallecas district.
Police officers found a camera and two chairs similar to those used in the salon, covered with purple sheets; the camera is being examined for pornographic footage of the victims.
Another of those arrested is a 52-year-old Moroccan accused of killing another on August 12, 2021 on Monte Igueldo avenue, in the Madrid district of Puente de Vallecas.
Another detainee had 300 grams of cocaine found in his home and another has 40 previous arrests, four of them for sexual assault.