The 20-year-old Chloe Ayling was at the height of her career, as a successful model, and entertainer.
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She was living the dream, happy go lucky and free spirited. All of that changed on one horrific evening that will forever haunt each waking moment of her life.
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Retelling the horrid tale, she says, “I woke up with wrists and ankles handcuffed, tape on my mouth, I was inside a bag.”
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She says she was lured to an abandoned shop near Milan’s Central Station by a group online posing as a photographer, which she was supposed to arrive at the location for a photo shoot.
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Such incandescent places are not uncommon for photo shoots, and she simply assumed it was going to be routine business.
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However, once she arrived, she claims the horrors were so unspeakable that she was in immediate shock.
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An official police statement of the ordeal reads:
<i>“A person wearing black gloves came from behind and put one hand on my neck and one in my mouth to stop me from screaming.”</i>
<i>“A second person wearing a black balaclava gave me an injection in my right forearm. I think I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I am wearing now.”</i>
<i>“I realized I was in the boot of a car with my wrists and ankles handcuffed, adhesive tape on my mouth. I was inside a bag and was only able to breathe through a small hole.”</i>
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Chloe has become a victim of an online sex trafficking cult, known as the ‘Black Death’, which routinely kidnap women and children and sell them on the dark web to high paying pedophiles and men seeking pleasure.
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The group is run by a ‘Polish Terror Gang’ as described by police, but they're believed to be a part of a global network of human trafficking.
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An image was released by police that they say was uploaded to the dark web by the group Black Death shows a woman in a torture chamber with personal details including measurements and nationality, although the picture is believed to be a scene from a pornographic film.
After he rescues, she was flown back to the UK, speaking at home in Coulsdon, South London Ayling said the following:
<i>”I've been through a terrifying experience. I've feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.”</i>
<i>”I'm incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release.”>
<i>”I have just arrived home after four weeks and haven't had time to collect my thoughts.”</i>
<i>”I am not at liberty to say anything further until I have been debriefed by the UK police.”</i>
It is the second time the young model has feared her life this year alone having also been caught up in the terror attack on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
In a list of terms and conditions, the advertisement on the dark web listed:
<i>”Girls can be transported globally, we have contractors for that, for a price. EU delivery is free, might take time dependant on current location and drop-off point.”<i>
It notes the British model's details as “Born in the UK”; “Abducted in Italy”; “Held in Germany”; “19 years old”; “Caucasian”; “34DD-25-35”; “Beginner model”; “Starting bid $300,000”. “Auction takes place 16.7.2017”.
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Two pairs of handcuffs were among the several bags of evidence which was collected by police following the discovery of the kidnapped model.
Chloe Ayling's family feared that they may never see her again having been away from the UK. A close family friend said, “They thought they would never see her alive again. She has been through hell. We just want to get her home.”
A spokesman for her modeling agency also said, “She has been with the police visiting the crime scene. I have been in touch with her family the whole time. Our prime concern now is to get her back safely.”
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During the police press conference in Milan after she was released, her captor was named as 30-year-old Polish-born Lukasz Herba, who is accused of trying to sell her on the internet for 300,000 Euros through bitcoin.
Officers went through Herba's phone and computer and said they found photos of the woman and material stating she was for sale, while hair from both the model and Herba was found in the rear of his car.
When officers arrested him he was found in possession of a pamphlet on the Black Death Cult which offers the sexual services of women for auction.
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A picture supposedly uploaded to the organization's onion web address showed a topless woman tied up alongside details including measurements and nationality in what looks like an advertising.
Investigators say that she was drugged on ketamine to keep her unconscious and quiet during the abduction.
Police say that they're still looking for a second suspect since Chloe says she was abducted by two men. What's clear is she's fortunate to be alive at all, and this only further underscores that the global network of sexual trafficking via abductions is not only real but thriving.