by Daiyu Tang, the Girl Behind the Lens
While exploring the area around the University Campus, taking photos of the residents and the architecture of the City, this photographer has stumbled across evidence of how criminal elements are capturing and exploiting residents for their own nefarious ends.
The motel, which students and faculty pass on their way to the CU has always had a seedy reputation, disguised perhaps by a cleaner than expected exterior and a fairly central location within the City. Residents of Hathian may rent a room there for a short stay or longer depending on their needs, but when this photographer visited she found evidence that behind the clean facade is a menace to our city.
On the 28th February 2022, at the Motel while setting up shots of the city from the first floor, your photographer heard strange noises coming from one of the rooms. Normally, as a sane, sober and moral resident of this city, GBTL wouldn’t have paid this any attention; Motels are after-all a place for amorous couples to while away an evening, or for parties, or arguments and sound is expected. However this one didn’t sound right; it was pain and distress, not pleasure. Therefore steeling myself reader for a potential confrontation, GBTL approached the first floor room, where the blinds were not partially shut and attempted to peek inside. The dim light didn’t afford enough of a view besides that of a bed and a camera, but the sound was still coming from somewhere inside. Many of you may be used to this sound – our city creates more than it’s fair share, but despite this moniker, GBTL cannot simple accept and tolerate it. The sound of distress provokes a desire to try and help in all but the hardest of hearts and while Hathian is a hard city, not everyone has yet been turned to stone. Hopefully reader, you would also have done something about it.
Approaching with as much courage as GBTL could get in-front of the lens, (and glad that she’d used the bathroom earlier) this reporter tried the door and surprisingly found it unlocked, which later, reader, you’ll find was on purpose by the sick individual or individuals behind this monstrosity.
Inside, chained up to a post, gagged, cuffed and adorned with painful BDSM gear was a young woman with a pleading look in her eye. This reporter looked around the room, sure that someone would be there, but no, there was just a bed, a poster and an expensive looking camera. Approaching the woman, she indicated the keys to her restraints on the bed nearby and GBTL then took the only moral decision possible – freeing her from the post and trying loosen some of the other items. Together, with the victim, this reporter left the motel and without exchanging more than a few hurried words, fled. Reader, GBTL had the premise of mind to take that camera and the interview you see below as well as the footage on the camera must be used to effect change – the HPD and the wider community must protect each other from the wider threat of sexual and brutal violence, all-too-often visited on residents across these streets.
Reader, we now turn to the interview with the rescued girl, who has given permission to have her story posted. It’s taken her a few days to feel composed enough to cover what happened to her and GBTL should note that when first rescued, the woman spoke Italian and was surprised that this reporter could not, a situation that was clarified in our interview below…
Girl Behind the Lens: “Could you tell me a bit about yourself?”
Woman: “My name is Yekaterina, but people normally call me Kitty or Kitka. I am an art historian and I came to Florence about a year ago to learn more about Reanaissance art”
Girl Behind the Lens: “Miss. Kitka, do you realise you are in America and that’s why I didn’t understand your Italian at first?”
Kitka: “Uhh, this is all so confusing. I don’t understand how, what is going on!”
Girl Behind the Lens: “This must be a bit of a shock, let’s move on and afterwards I’ll help you get police support… So how did you find yourself in that motel room?
Kitka: “I don’t really know. I was visiting a friend in her house in the mountains. I was surprised to hear a noise from a neighbouring house and I went to investigate. A woman I didn’t know was being held captive and I tried to help her. Her captor returned and he tied me up.”
Girl Behind the Lens: “I see, but that doesn’t explain how you’re here, can you remember much else?”
Kitka: “That was some time ago. I can’t remember everything that happened after that, maybe he did something to me, but I remember being in a big metal box on a boat for days and days.”
Girl Behind the Lens: “That sounds awful, but that maybe explains why you’re not in Italy anymore… Let’s talk about who did this and if you know, why they did it?”
Kitka: “I don’t know what his name was. He an Italian man – well dressed and very well spoken, but very dangerous. He had a gun and he slapped me if I didn’t do what he told me to… He had two accomplices with him. One of them was a very big strong man. Stupid, but very strong. I saw him lift a girl over his shoulder like she was just a doll. The other was different – well built and muscular, but he was also kind to me in little ways…”
Girl Behind the Lens: “I can see this is very hard for you Kitka, you don’t have to go on if you don’t want to…”
Kitka: “They….. I was….. It was terrible…”
Girl Behind the Lens: “Let’s focus on something else, can you tell me what was the significance of the poster our readers can see in the headline photo?”
Kitka: “They were making films – dreadful films about them doing things to girls. That poster is an advertisement… That girl, Chiara Belladonna – she was in the room when they brought me there. I think that she had been there for some time – maybe weeks – and they were finishing the film. That is what the poster is… I didn’t get to speak to her, but I heard her speak to him once and I know she was an Italian girl. They took her away a couple of days ago. I don’t know anything more.”
Girl Behind the Lens: “So there was at least one other victim who is now missing… This sounds very serious Kitka.. I just have one final question for now for you; what do you want to happen next and have you gone to the Police yet?”
“I haven’t been to the Police but I will… I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know this place.I want someone to protect me from this man. He has a gun and he is very dangerous.”
As you can see from the above, Kitka provides a chilling insight into the trafficking of mostly women into violent pornography. While she is now entrusted to HPD who also have a copy of our full interview, GBTL trusts reader that you are as shocked as she is and will be demanding HPD action against the perpetrators and their operations. Where possible, we have fact-checked her statement, but perhaps the ultimate proof will come from the video tape located inside the camera from the room. GBTL has this and will provide you an update dear reader, once she has steeled herself and watched them. Wish her luck behind the lens as we investigate this filth for the sake of everyone.