A new book by a French journalist reveals that Colonel Gaddafi ordered the kidnap of schoolgirls for use as sex slaves.

Le Monde journalist Annick Cojean's book, Gaddafi's Harem: The Story of a Young Woman and the Abuses of Power in Libya, has brought to light details of how young women were enslaved by Gaddafi while he was in power.

In the first half of the book, Cojean tells the story of 'Soraya', an alias for a 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped and held for five years in a basement at Gaddafi's fortress just outside Tripoli.

Soraya says she was violently raped, beaten and abused on an almost daily basis.

In the book Soraya says: "He grabbed my hand and forced me to sit next to him on the bed. I didn't dare look at him

"He said, 'Don't be afraid. I'm your papa. That's what you call me, isn't it? But I'm also your brother and your lover. I'm going to be all that for you. Because you are going to stay and live with me forever.'"

Annick Cojean’s book reveals the extent of Gaddafi’s sexual abuse of women during his regime
Annick Cojean’s book reveals the extent of Gaddafi’s sexual abuse of women

The Le Monde journalist says that Gaddafi also raped men and boys.

In the second half of the book, Cojean corroborates the details of Soraya's story in a series of interviews with other victims.

She also reports on Gaddafi's pursuit of the wives of foreign heads of states, celebrities, and university students with lavish gifts.

Female visitors were regularly given blood tests by Gaddafi's nurses to make sure they were disease free in case he wanted to have sex with them.

Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times journalist killed in Syria in 2012, reported that a nurse wanted to give her a blood test when she was in Tripoli to interview Gaddafi.

At the University of Tripoli, a door adjoining a reception area gave way to a secret bedroom.

The doctor who showed it to Cojean said it was a gynaecological examination room. "What illegal and perverse practices had been hidden from view here? There are two possibilities I can think of: interrupting pregnancies and reconstructing hymens."