Trucker travelled across US with sex slaves

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IOL pic mar13 Truck Driver-Kidnapping Associated Press This undated image provided by the Clay County Jail shows Timothy Jay Vafeades. Federal charges have been filed against Vafeades, a Utah trucker accused of keeping sex slaves in his semi-trailer for months at a time. Picture: Clay County Jail

Salt Lake City - A US truck driver kept sex slaves in his semi-trailer for months at a time while he travelled the country, filing down their teeth, forcing them to alter their appearance and beating them until they nearly passed out, authorities said.

Timothy Jay Vafeades, 54, made an initial appearance on Wednesday in US District Court.

The charges against him include kidnapping, transportation for illegal sexual activity and possession of child pornography, and they could bring a life sentence if he is convicted.

His public defender, Richard Henderson, could not be reached for comment.

An arrest warrant filed on Tuesday in Salt Lake City claims Vafeades kidnapped a 19-year-old female relative who had come from Florida in May 2013 to work with him on his truck.

After a week, the teen told Vafeades she wanted to go home, but she later told authorities that he strangled her until she blacked out and used threats and violence to keep her with him for the next six months while they travelled to Washington state, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee and other states.

Vafeades forced the teenager to have sex with him more than 100 times, a criminal complaint states.

He chipped down the girl's teeth and had her wear a fake set, and he wore his own false set that featured vampire fangs, the teen told investigators.

Vafeades was arrested at a Minnesota weigh station on November 26, after officers noticed bruises on the teenager and discovered a 1999 restraining order barring Vafeades from contacting the girl.

After his arrest, a second woman went to authorities to report she had been held captive in Vafeades' truck, according to the warrant.

The woman said Vafeades kept her with him for about three months through threats and violence, forcing her to have sex with him nearly every day and calling her his slave, authorities said.

She said he had her hair cut and coloured to disguise her identity and forced her to marry him.

The trucker is in a North Dakota jail awaiting transfer to Utah. - Sapa-AP


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