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It sounds like something out of a movie plot: A 20-year-old model is kidnapped at a photo shoot in Milan and thrown into a car trunk to be auctioned as a sex slave. But that’s exactly what British model Chloe Ayling claims happened to her.
Ayling went to Italy for work on July 11, but she said the photo shoot ended up being in an abandoned shop and was completely faked. She said a criminal group called Black Death had tricked her in an attempt to kidnap and sell her.
“A person wearing black gloves came up from behind and put one hand on my neck and the other on my mouth, while a second person, wearing a black balaclava, injected me in my right arm,” Ayling told police, according to the Guardian. “When I woke up… I realized I was in the boot of a car, with my wrists and ankles tied and my mouth taped. I was inside a bag, with only a small hole that allowed me to breathe.”
Ayling said she repeatedly screamed, causing the car to stop three times, before being brought to a farmhouse in Turin. Her hands and feet were then tied to drawers, and she was allegedly forced to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. The captors were allegedly attempting to sell her online for over $300,000 in bitcoins for a July 16th auction.
“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,” an alleged advert for Ayling said, the Guardian reported.
Ayling said she was released after six days in captivity when her kidnappers found out that she had a two-year-old child. Because her kidnappers were allegedly not allowed to capture mothers, they proceeded to release her, and she flew back home Aug. 6.
But a pamphlet from the Black Death allegedly warned Ayling not to conduct an investigation or criticize her kidnappers. Instead, they required her to pay $50,000 in bitcoins within a month.
“You will, upon your landing in your home country cease any investigation activities related to your kidnapping. You also agreed to sneak a pre-determined set of information in to the media and we will expect to see evidence that has been done in the near future,” the pamphlet published by the Daily Mail allegedly read. “You and your family will, in no way ever talk about us in bad language and without respect. You have been treated fairly, with respect and we expect to hear exactly the same about us in return.”
At a press conference in Milan, it was announced that 30-year-old Lukasz Herba was arrested in connection with selling Ayling on the internet. Herba was found with a Black Death pamphlet and has allegedly worked with “chemicals and poisons” in the past, according to the Daily Mail.
“I’ve been through a terrifying experience. I’ve feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour. I’m incredibly grateful to the Italian and U.K. authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release,” Ayling told the Daily Mail.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.