Social networking sites are the easiest avenues for sexual offenders to attract children and young people to perpetrate their evil acts. BBC reports that the Spanish police has arrested 33 people in connection with a WhatsApp group who shares images of child sex abuse and other violent content.
The force said that most of the illegal images shared in the said group have been normalised by the members who include men, women and even some minors between 15 and 18. Members arrested are from 11 different countries with a majority coming from Spain. Other countries include the UK, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, India, Italy, France, Pakistan and Syria.
The police arrested two people in Uruguay. One was a mother who abused her daughter and sent the disturbing images to the group. Another was a 29-year-old man who downloaded the images encouraged the members to engage young girls in sexual intercourse, particularly migrants who are more vulnerable and are unlikely to make a report to the police.
The team in Spain began investigating the matter over two years ago after they received an email which probably gave a lead to the culprits. They enlisted the help of the Police in other countries including Europol, Interpol and the police in Ecuador and Costa Rica.
The police said in a statement that the group shared paedophilic content, sometimes of extreme severity- images and video involving sex with younger children. Some others were legal content but were not suitable for minors because of their extreme nature. Some members in the group already created stickers of children being abused.
The police mentioned that the arrests in Spain, (the country with the highest number of culprits) included men and boys from a mix of social and cultural backgrounds. One of them had fled from his home town in Italy to Salamanca to stay with relatives, unknown to him that it was Spain’s national Police who had ordered his arrest.
The next line of investigation will focus on the abused girls, some who might include immigrants who are too scared to make a case due to fear of deportation.
Sexual misconduct with children is a heinous crime. This would criminalise any adult who communicates with a child for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, where there is a communication to engage in sex or an intention to carry out such an offense.