Míriam G. leaves the Almendralejo police station. He takes his cell phone out of his pocket. He looks at him. She puts it back. She has just filed her second complaint in less than five days in the case of minors who have been victims of nudes manipulated with an artificial intelligence application. With a serious face and accompanied by her husband Manuel de ella, she addresses a group of ten women who ask her out loud under the shade of a tree:
—How did it go, Míriam?
Míriam is the mother of an 11-year-old girl who attends sixth grade in one of the nine schools in the city. She is the youngest victim of a case that has turned this Badajoz municipality of 30,000 inhabitants upside down. If Almendralejo had always been in the news for his football team – the now extinct Extremadura, which left its mark in the First Division at the end of the 90s -, for 48 hours it has been on the news, newspapers and national radio stations due to an unprecedented scandal. in Spain. It is the first time that at least twenty girls and adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17, and from four different educational centers, have been victims of artificial intelligence. Their photos, which they uploaded to Instagram and shared on WhatsApp, have been captured and completely modified through an application that says on its website: “Undress anyone with our free service.”
The minors, who appeared dressed in the images they uploaded to their networks, now appear fully nude. The girls and adolescents found out last week with the start of back to school, during recess and in class. The city’s Judicial Police has been investigating the case for a week. This Monday, “several” of the alleged perpetrators have been identified, according to the Government delegate in Extremadura, Francisco Mendoza. Some of them go to the same class as the girls. The case has been placed in the hands of the Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office. “I found out on Saturday because a colleague put it in the WhatsApp group we have at the City Council,” the town’s mayor, José María Ramírez (PSOE), tells EL PAÍS. “The first thing is to investigate and it seems that they already have it more or less under control.”
The mothers who ask Míriam about her condition after the complaint also have daughters between 12 and 17 years old. They are all part of a WhatsApp group that, for a week, has been accumulating new members almost daily. There are now 27. They all organized immediately. Some knew each other by sight and others by their daughters. Now they are trying to find a lawyer to help and advise them with the case.
A group of teenagers, in front of the Almendralejo National Police station, Badajoz. ROBERTO PALOMO
Míriam, for example, found out last Wednesday, while taking a walk with her husband. Her daughter called her after mid-afternoon. Immediately, they went to the park where she was with a group of friends. “This is amazing,” says the father. “My daughter is in sixth grade, huh. I have seen the photo of my daughter naked. You can’t see much of her face, a little bit, nothing more, there, with the mirror. It seems real, because I know my daughter’s body, but if not, that body seems real.” If last week they went to the police station to report the case, this Monday they returned after six in the afternoon to file another one. “My daughter called me after volleyball practice telling me that she had just received a video with photos of seven girls.” The images were sent to her by a friend she knows because, supposedly, he had found out about what happened at school and that video has begun to circulate in a WhatsApp group. Except for one, all the girls who appear in the video have already been identified by the police.
María B., 44, also joins the conversation at the door of the Almendralejo police station, who found out when she went to pick up her daughter from the educational center last Tuesday. “Mom, do you know something? There is a photo floating around with my face and naked body.” María, stupefied, immediately asked: “But have you taken any photos?” The girl responded: “No, mom, no. This is one thing they have done, there are many girls in my class because they have also done the same thing.” The mothers got in touch immediately. Among them, Toni F, 49, who has a 13-year-old daughter. “Mine has evidence from her, but not from her. I haven’t even wanted to see her photo. A friend gave it to her to warn her because she has a photo of two naked friends, who are out together. “My daughter asked a boy in her class, her supposed creator, if he had photos of her.” The boy said yes.
After eight in the afternoon, a National Police agent comes out to talk to the group of mothers. “Good afternoon, I tell you that I don’t know if I will have time to take more statements, in case you are waiting too long.” The police officer assures that he already has seven images. The seven pieces of evidence in the case. “There is a girl who, at the moment, is not identified,” he says. Another mother responds: “What if she is my daughter?” The agent answers that they will be shown the image when he goes to testify, and suggests that perhaps he has been able to see it in the photos that the girls have. A mother immediately interrupts:
—In the mothers’ group we have decided that nothing is shared.
Suddenly, one of the twenty affected minors, who was around the police station with her friends, approached her mother for a second:
“Now I’m coming, I’m going to accompany you.”
“Then don’t be late.”
And another mother, who prefers not to say her name, says that her daughter told her about it while they were buying school supplies for the institute last week. “Mom, they took a naked photo of me and now I’m embarrassed to go out in case someone has seen that photo.” She also told him that the same thing had happened to her best friend. Belén C’s daughter, 44, found out because there was a WhatsApp group of children in class where those images were. The photos where the little girl appears had been stolen from her private Instagram. “I have seen photos of other girls, but not those of my daughter,” she says. “But there are witnesses that my daughter’s photo is out there. Today my daughter told me that she was laughed at at school.” A mother interrupts: “Someone told my daughter that, well, she has done things with her photo.” Meanwhile, Míriam, the mother who has already filed two complaints, has shown the rest a screenshot with an alleged comment from a boy who goes to her daughter’s educational center:
-Don’t complain, because later you upload photos that you can almost see your pussy.
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