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US trucker accused over sex slaves

A US truck driver kept sex slaves in his lorry 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.

The allegations emerged as Timothy Jay Vafeades, 54, made an initial appearance in US District Court.

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

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

After a week, the teenager 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 says.

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 teenager told investigators.

Vafeades was arrested in Minnesota 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.

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