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Models beware: there’s a sinister sex market on the dark web where you’ll be put up for sale, reported The Daily Beast.
At least that’s what Italian investigators believe after discovering that a 20-year-old British model who was called to Milan for a photo shoot was put up for sale on the infamous darknet or deep web, the unindexed sector of the world wide web that knows no boundaries.
The young woman, who has not been named by Italian police to protect her privacy, came to Milan July 11 after her modeling agency in the United Kingdom set up a photo shoot with what they believed was a legitimate company looking for young women for an ad campaign, according to Corriere Della Sera, which first reported the story Saturday after the man was arraigned in a Milan court on Friday.
But when the woman got to Milan, there were no cameras. There was only a man, said to be of Polish origin, with a syringe full of Ketalar, a common anesthetic drug often used to sedate horses. Police say he jabbed her in the arm and put a pillowcase over her head before stuffing her in a large suitcase.
He then drove her, still inside the suitcase, in the trunk of his car to a southern Milan suburb where he kept her in a room at an events hall he had rented with false documents, according to Italian media, and listed her on a dark web auction site for a starting price of €300,000 ($353,000) in Bitcoin.
The man, also unnamed due to Italy’s privacy laws—although photographs of his police mugshot and his passport are now available on Italian media— apparently lived at least part time in the United Kingdom and had taken secret photos of the woman there, implying that the scam is part of a larger network that identifies victims and then lures them to Milan and other places.
Police examining his phone and computer found nude photos of her taken while she was drugged in Milan. Some of those pictures also appeared on the darknet auction site. He is not being charged for sex crimes, only kidnapping and illegally holding a person captive.
She was held for several days while the auction ensued until she came out of her drugged state long enough to tell the man she had a two-year-old child, which, according to testimony given during Friday’s hearing, was “against the rules” of the criminal organization for which the Polish man apparently worked.
Because the man was then stuck with a woman he could not sell according to what might be called company policy, he contacted the modeling agency and demanded €50,000 for her release, threatening that he would kill her if they did not comply.
Concerned that police might look for him after he called the modeling agency, the man then told police he had intended to take her to the British Consulate in Milan. But police were waiting for him after the consulate staff told them a man called to say he would be delivering a young British woman he found, according to court testimony reported by Italian media sources.
The man will appear in court again this fall.
Read more at thedailybeast.com
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