We learned yesterday that a 20-year-old British model was kidnapped in order to auction her as a sex slave online. Italian police apprehended the suspect identified as 30-year-old Polish citizen Lukasz Pawel Herba, whom investigators say has organized previous auctions, according to the New York Times.
The Associated Press reports that she was taken on July 11th when she walked into a Milan apartment for what she thought was a photo shoot. She was then drugged, stuffed into a duffel bag, and driven in the trunk of a car to a house in northern Italy where she was handcuffed to a chest of drawers while her captor demanded a $300,000 ransom from her agent. The Italian police have released the horrifying reenactment photo above.
Bafflingly, she was released on July 17 with no ransom, the reason for which is disturbing: “Milan daily Corriere della Sera said the kidnapper let his victim go because he discovered she had a child and considered her unsuitable for the sex trade,” Al Jazeera reports. The suspected kidnapper reportedly even took her to the British consulate himself.
According to the Global Slavery Index, Italian authorities investigated 2,471 trafficking suspects in 2011 alone; of them, 179 convicted traffickers served an average of 6.5 years in prison.