A British model who was allegedly drugged, handcuffed and stuffed in a suitcase in Italy recalled the horror of her kidnappers trying to sell her as a sex slave on the dark web.
“I’ve been through a terrifying experience,” 20-year-old Chloe Ayling told The Telegraph Sunday after returning home to Britain. “I feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.”
Ayling thought she was traveling to a photo shoot in Milan on July 11. But when she arrived at the location, two men attacked her and injected her with ketamine — a powerful tranquilizer.
She was then held captive for six days.
British model stuffed in suitcase in failed human trafficking try
Lukasz Herba, a 30-year-old Polish citizen who lives in Oldbury, England, was arrested and confessed to his role in the kidnapping.
Herba is accused of trying to sell Ayling for $ 300,000 online. The captors also demanded her agent — whom she told police booked the photo shoot — pay a ransom. She said Herba told her that three women were sold a week and he had received $ 15 million from the sales in the past five years, according to the newspaper.
Herba reportedly told Ayling that she would be sold to a buyer in a Middle Eastern country and if they buyer got bored of her, she would be fed to tigers.
Prosecutors believe the men belong to a dark web group called Black Death, which engages in human trafficking.
Mom of 3 shares alleged encounter with human traffickers at IKEA
Ayling described the moments leading up to her abduction to Italian police in a statement translated by The Guardian.
“A person wearing black gloves came from behind and put one hand on my neck and one on my mouth to stop me from screaming.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Stick shift helps S.C. woman escape kidnapping
A post shared by Chloe Ayling (@chloeayling) on
Ayling said she screamed so loudly, the men had stopped the car three times to shut her up while transporting her to a farmhouse in Borgial, a remote Italian town near the French border.
There, her captors handcuffed her to a dresser and she was forced to sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag.
“They watched me, they stopped me from fleeing and they threatened to kill me if I did,” Ayling said.
The four captors reportedly referred to each other using only their initials. The kidnappers took photos of Ayling while she was unconscious and posted them online to auction her off, officials said.
Jeremy Lin sees horrors of human trafficking during trip to Asia
She was released six days later because she’s a mother of a 2-year-old child, which goes against the organization’s rules.
Herba took the model — who hadn’t eaten in days — to the British Consulate in Milan on July 17. He was arrested the next day on suspicion of kidnapping and extortion.
A letter Black Death had sent to Ayling after her release and obtained by The Daily Mail Online said it made a “mistake” in capturing her.
“You are being released as a huge generosity from the Black Death Group,” the letter reads, warning her not to denounce her kidnappers because she was “treated fairly” and with “respect.”
Human trafficking suspects possibly part of sex-slavery gang
The letter also demanded Ayling pay $ 50,000 in bitcoin within a month.
A family friend told The Sun her family feared she’d been killed when she disappeared.
“They thought they would never see her alive again,” the friend said. “She has been through hell.”
Anti-Mafia cops are investigating whether Black Death is indeed responsible for kidnapping the model. The National Crime Agency has helped Italian authorities search through Herba’s home following his arrest, according to The Sun.
9 immigrants dead in tractor-trailer in botched human trafficking
Ayling has also been cooperating with Italian police during the investigation and managed to lead them to the farmhouse where she’d been held.
Francesco Pesce, Ayling’s lawyer, said he’s happy his client has been reunited with her family in Britain and hopes the other captors will be brought to justice.
“She suffered a lot. It was an awful experience and to believe that she would never see her family again. I was so encouraged to see how strong she was (when she revisited the house), a 20-year-old who had been through a terrible ordeal,” Pesce told the Guardian.
“Now she is home and it’s important that she has time with her family and is left alone,” the lawyer said.
- united kingdom
- human trafficking
Send a Letter to the Editor