"Nicole's starting proposal is set at 150,000$," the listing read. The skinny, blonde, and topless girl appeared to be beating around in the accompanying photos. With her arms tied behind her back and the rope joined to a wireframe, "Nicole" slipped forward as the shadow of a man dominated in the background.
The advert for the upcoming auction included Nicole's breast size weight and that she is free from sexually transmitted diseases. She was being showcased on the dark web, on a website operated by a group calling itself "Black Death."
"I'm interested in the girl," I told the website owners in an encrypted email, "want to see more photos first." It didn't take long for a response to hit my inbox.
I found Black Death after a link was posted on Reddit. "They're a systematized crime group that trades in nearly anything, you name it," the post read.
After anchoring on the site, users are met with a horn of different services: weapons, narcotics, bombings, assassinations, new identities, and trafficking. A feed of news updates pushing back years is also listed. "Black Death enters Deep Web," the site read on 27 January 2010. "And we are here to stay." After this, the site changed talks several times. "We will do it any time we are getting too popular," it said.
"Do not reach us just to ask questions," the site continued. I chose to pose as a potential customer to see what I could learn about these so-called dark web human traffickers.