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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 21:57 GMT 22:57 UK
Girls free from sex kidnap ordeal
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Russian police have freed two girls who were kidnapped and held as sex slaves in a cellar for three years.

One is pregnant and has had two sons in captivity, both of whom are thought to be in a local orphanage.

The pair, now 21 and 17, were freed from the cellar in the central Ryazan region after the arrest of their alleged captor, a factory worker of 53.

They were abducted after meeting their captor at a disco in late 2000, where it is thought he drugged them.

"The suspect was holding the girls in a cellar at his house so he could commit violent sexual acts on them," senior prosecutor Irina Sablina told Ekho Moskvy radio.

She said that one of the freed hostages was in the eighth month of pregnancy and had already had two children by her abductor, giving birth to boys in 2001 and 2003.

Ryazan police said the two babies were both abandoned on the doorstep of an orphanage.

Believed dead

The two girls were students at a local college when they were kidnapped.

Police opened a missing persons investigation but later declared they were believed dead.

The girls were reportedly raped, beaten and deprived of food in their windowless room in the small town of Skopin.

They managed to raise the alarm after three years when the kidnapper began taking them out for short periods, the girls told Russia's NTV television.

They had the chance to pass a note to a member of the public, who alerted the authorities.

The young women returned to their families in the city of Ryazan after spending a night in hospital.

'Good reputation'

The pair's alleged captor has yet to be charged.

He had had a good reputation in the community and even his family had not suspected what was going on beneath his garage, an official in Ryazan region said.

Police are also searching for a 29-year-old woman who is believed to have helped in the abduction.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Sarah Rainsford
"The girls were held under lock and key for three years"



SEE ALSO:
Russia fights sex slavery
19 May 01 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
05 May 04 |  Country profiles


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