CBS Local — A 20-year-old British model says she was kidnapped by a gang that was planning to sell her as a slave on the dark web. Chloe Ayling was reportedly abducted during a trip to Milan, Italy on July 11 and spent a week in the hands of the cyber-crime group known as “Black Death.”
“Attacked, drugged, handcuffed and closed inside a suitcase, that’s how a 20-year-old English model was kidnapped on July 11 in Milan to be sold to the best offer,” Milan police said in a statement, per CBS News. Ayling says the alleged kidnappers held her in a Turin farmhouse for six days before discovering she had an infant son. The model claims that one of the men said their boss was upset that a young mother had been kidnapped, which is reportedly against the crime syndicate’s code.
After the discovery, the dark web auction for Ayling was reportedly closed and “Black Death” demanded a $50,000 ransom from the model’s agent in Britain. Although the ransom was reportedly not paid, Ayling was dropped off at the British consulate in Milan on July 18. Authorities say 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba was later arrested in connection with the kidnapping and extortion plot.
“I’ve been through a terrifying experience. I’ve feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour,” the 20-year-old told the media after her ordeal. “I’m incredibly grateful to the Italian and U.K. authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release.”