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via Instagram / @chloeayling

Young British model kidnapped and auctioned online

She was allegedly released after her kidnapper found out she had a child

A 20-year-old British glamour model has escaped a terrifying ordeal after being kidnapped and auctioned on the dark web.

Chloe Ayling, who lives in Surrey, had travelled to Milan for a photoshoot when she was attacked, drugged, and abducted before being driven to Turin in a suitcase on July 11. According to Italian newspaper La Stampa, the shoot had been booked through her agent who was later asked for a ransom for Ayling's freedom.

A statement from police headquarters in Milan detailed Ayling's ordeal: “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 on pornography sites.”

Police have arrested 30-year-old suspect Lukasz Pawel Herba, a Polish national, who they believe is part of a dark web criminal gang called Black Death. The Daily Mail reports that Ayling was given a letter by Black Death on her release, detailing that she was given her freedom due to the fact she has a two-year-old son.

Parts of letter read: “You are being released as a huge generosity from Black Death Group. Your release does, however, come with a warning and you should read this letter very carefully.

“A mistake was made by capturing you, especially considering you are a young mother that should have in no circumstances be lured into kidnapping. Second important factor (sic) you are very well aware of is your overall protection by one of our main and very well respected men who made a very clear and solid stance in your case.

“Any sort of disobedience with the above will result in your elimination.”

Speaking to reporters outside her London home on Saturday 5 August, Ayling said, “I am incredibly grateful to the Italian and U.K. authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release. I have just arrived home after four weeks and haven't had time to gather my thoughts. I am not at liberty to say anything further until I have been debriefed by the U.K. police.”

Listings for women on dark web sites including Black Death have been reported on in the past, but questions remained over their legitimacy.