David López of the National Police's family and women's unit. | Julio Bastida

David López of the National Police's family and women's unit has stated that "it cannot be said that there is a network or an organization" dedicated to the sexual exploitation of minors in the Balearics. Nevertheless, the police have uncovered "a chain of contacts".

Speaking at a press conference in light of the arrest of 17 people in Palma, López said that "there was no pre-established system". The seventeen were detained last week in connection with the corruption of minors and with acts committed between 2018 and 2019 that involved 13 victims.

He explained that the investigation began thanks to the alert mechanisms established between the Prosecutor's Office for Minors and the Mallorcan Institute of Social Affairs (IMAS). These mechanisms are in place "to try and avoid this type of case". If there are suspicions of sexual exploitation of minors, the police are contacted.

The detainees, aged between 21 and 65 years old, include some who contacted minors to have sexual relations in exchange for payment of money. This was through contact web pages for adults; the minors were "advertised" as adults.

López added that the detainees do not respond to any common profile and that none of them have a previous record of corruption of minors. He went on to say that the sexual exploitation of minors is a complex problem that has to be addressed from many fronts. There is regular communication between the police and the IMAS.

Three people were initially arrested. The investigation resulted in the arrest of another 14 people and in six others being placed under investigation. All those detained are currently at liberty. The investigation remains open and there could be further arrests.