A woman on a container ship in the Mediterranean says she has endured a life of abuse and exploitation, and fears her captor will kill her if she tells him she has been raped.
Caroline Vigliucci, 28, told ABC News she has never been paid a cent in ransom and was forced to work in a cramped, bare-bones cabin where she says she was raped repeatedly by four crew members in the years leading up to her capture by Italian authorities last month.
She said she has suffered from chronic pain in her right foot and leg since her captions, which included being beaten with metal rods, have left her “feeling like a prisoner.”
Vigliuca, who lives in Sicily, said she was taken from her home in March last year when she was 19 and taken to an Italian port.
Her parents and brother were also on the ship.
She said she worked on the cargo ship for five months but was released after two months when her capts stopped paying her.
Vigliauto said her capters threatened her with physical harm if she told them about the sexual abuse, which she said took place in the same cabin where Vigliaucci was raped.
Vagliauto, who now has a prosthetic leg and a new prosthetic arm, said the sexual assault and torture she endured left her traumatized and unable to leave the ship because she feared for her life.VIGLIUCI’S STORY ‘SICK’ ‘TREATMENT IS THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN ABOUT THIS CRIME’Caroline’s story is one of many that have emerged in the days following the rescue of Italian migrant, Bruno Giannini, from the waters off Libya on Oct. 17.
Italian police say the 26-year-old was rescued by Italian Coast Guard boats and Italian naval vessels in an effort to rescue hundreds of migrants trapped on the overcrowded Mediterranean.
Vignelli, a ship captain who is now serving a six-month prison sentence, is facing a number of criminal charges related to the rescue.
Vigiucci said she spent weeks in the port of Catania before she was released to her Italian captors, who forced her to work as a prostitute in exchange for a ransom.
Vigsiani, who has a son and daughter with Vigliecini, said Viglio was subjected to physical abuse, including being whipped, punched, kicked and choked.
Vrigliauto’s story has become a cause celebre in the Italian media, which has dubbed her an example of how women are being exploited by the traffickers who have been running illegal slave boats since the 1990s.
Vigiliazzi, who is from Sicily, has now told her story in a letter to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Vegliauto described her experience in an online blog posting on Oct 18: “I was raped multiple times, I was beaten, tortured, threatened, told that I would die if I told anybody, threatened with being killed if I said anything, and I was also kept in a room that was like a cage with only me and my husband and our son in it.
I was forced by my captors to have sex with them, but only one of them wanted to do so.”
The ransom demand for the woman’s freedom was $1.2 million and the men who were her captores are being held in separate detention facilities in Italy.
Vigilante groups have been patrolling the seas near Libya since last month in an attempt to prevent the smugglers from using the migrant ships to reach Italy.
The group of activists, known as SOS Lazzaro, have said they are working to track down Vigoliucci, who they claim is an agent for the traffickers.
Viggliauto also described the way her captars treated her, saying they told her that if she wanted to stay in the ship she would have to stay with them and work on their vessel.
Viggliaucci said the crew would not allow her to leave and would beat her if the ransom was not paid.
The ship was captured by Italian and Libyan coast guard vessels in the early hours of Oct. 18.
Visconti told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the Italian authorities have been doing everything they can to find Vigliciucci and bring her to justice.VICIGLIUCELLI’s STORY OF TROUBLE WITH MARINE CARRIERS CARRIED TO DEATH ‘THEY DON’T WANT TO PAY’A day after Vigilucci’s letter to Renzi, Italian police said they have released a statement claiming Vigiliucci’s story was false and she is being framed by smugglers.
In the statement, Italian prosecutor Andrea Speranza said Viggliucci is being tried for “illegal detention” in relation to the incident in April last year.Speranza’s