Italy:  Swedish model freed by Carabinieri
Italy's Carabinieri police have freed a 23-year-old model held captive by a fake modelling agent. iStock

Italian police have freed a Swedish model that was allegedly held captive, tortured, and repeatedly raped by a fake modelling agent in a house near Milan for six months.

Carabinieri police found the 23-year-old in a state of distress and sporting signs of violence, after they were called at an address in Cinisello Balsamo, on the outskirts of Italy's fashion capital, by neighbours alerted by the girl's screams.

Police have arrested the property owner, Claudio Rossetto, a 42-year-old with a criminal record for sexual violence.

The model, who has not been named, reportedly arrived in Milan looking for work opportunities in September 2014, after having competed in an edition of the Miss Universe Sweden pageant.

She was soon groomed by Rossetto who contacted her on Facebook posing as a modelling agent with extensive contacts in Italy's fashion industry, Ansa news agency reported.

After a first meeting at a bar in the city centre, the man was able to gain the the girl's trust and eventually lure her to his flat. There he beat her and assaulted her, before locking her up for months.

He seized her mobile phone and forced her to make weekly calls to reassure her parents in Sweden that everything was alright, Il Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

She was raped and beaten for months until police knocked at the flat's door, responding to a call for a possible episode of domestic violence.

Rossetto reportedly tried to send the intervening officers away dismissing the screams heard by neighbours as the result of a quarrel with his girlfriend.

Due to the man's previous record, the officers decided to take the couple back to the police station, where the girl revealed the ordeal she had gone through.

Rossetto came out of jail in 2013, after serving a four year sentence for the beating and rape of an 18-year-old Belarusian model. The girl has been taken to a local hospital, suffering from shock and malnutrition.