Event: The U.S. Embassy in Madrid has become aware of a public criminal investigation against Manuel Blanco Vela, an operator of several small tour companies based in Seville, Spain, who is alleged to have targeted U.S. citizen visitors for sexual assault. Media reports indicate that numerous American students have filed complaints with the Spanish authorities stating that Blanco has sexually assaulted them during trips that his company has organized for U.S. citizens during their study abroad programs in Spain, or during other activities that he has organized in the Seville area since 2013.
Actions to Take:
- Conduct research online to determine who owns and operates tour companies to make informed choices.
- Make sure the tour company you engage is a legitimate business. When in doubt, you may wish to consult with your study abroad program. Do not accept free trips from local tour
- Review your personal security
- Be cautious in situations involving alcohol. Do not consume food or beverages that someone may have tampered with – particularly drinks that have been out of your control.
- If you find yourself in an emergency, call 112 immediately.
- U.S. Embassy Madrid, Spain
- U.S. Consulate General Barcelona, Spain
- State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Spain Country Information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.
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