British model Chloe Ayling, a 20-year-old mother of one, is speaking out about the most terrifying ordeal of her life. Though she’s safe and sound now after her release on July 17, she reportedly spent six days in captivity with kidnappers who allegedly threatened to sell her online as a sex slave. Ayling told The Telegraph about what she endured, saying, “I’ve been through a terrifying experience. I feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.”
The kidnapping allegedly began when she showed up to what she originally thought to be a photo shoot in Milan on July 11. Her captors reportedly were waiting for her there and drugged her with ketamine, put her in a bag, and drove her to a remote location in Italy. Ayling’s captors contacted her agent demanding a ransom of $300,000 for her release — if the ransom was not paid, they threatened to auction Ayling as a sex slave on a “dark web” network.
One of Ayling’s alleged captors has been identified as U.K.-based Lukasz Pawel Herba, 30, whom police say has admitted to the kidnapping. Police arrested Herba when he dropped Ayling off unharmed outside the British consulate in Milan on July 17. Ayling reports that when her captors found out she was a mother, they deemed her unfit for sex slavery and decided to let her go. Police are still searching for accomplices in the case.
According to anti-sex-trafficking organization Equality Now, some 20.9 million adults and children “are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.” The organization also reports that sex trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world, and that it disproportionately harms women and girls: They make up 98 percent of victims in trafficking.
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