The Women Protection Authority under Franco’s dictatorship, known as “The Patronage” was created in 1941, to keep watch over women at risk to fall into immorality, and deprived of liberty thousands of young Spanish girls until well into democracy.
To the regime, a fallen women was a prostitute who had given in to vice and exploitation. But a young girl at risk could be anyone between 16 to 21 and who could be out of the moral standards of those days.
In the reformatories dependent of the Patronage, many youngsters considered as unruly, disobedient or promiscuous were imprisoned without having committed any crime. Girls who escaped from the misery of their own villages or the brutality of their parents, or simply minors who got pregnant.
For those, the maternity of Our Lady of Almudeña Peña was created, an institution allegedly related to the stolen babies scandal. Former inmates have started to denounce the continuous pressure of the nuns to give their children to adoption, and the suspicious those adoptions were made in an irregular way. They also talk about inhuman deliveries, abusive treatment, working exploitation and punishments.