Fears vulnerable woman is being 'exploited' in Pakistan


A search has been launched for a vulnerable Cambridgeshire woman who is believed to have travelled to Pakistan.

Leonard Reed and his wife Asta fear 28-year-old daughter Leah, who has bipolar disorder, has been “exploited for nefarious purposes”.

Appealing for her safe return yesterday, Mr Reed said Leah, who told her family she was going on a domestic holiday on April 24, could have been duped into the sex or drugs trade.

She failed to return and was reported missing on May 2 when a police search was launched.

Cambridgeshire police believe she has travelled to Lahore, after her passport was used to check on to a flight from Heathrow to Pakistan.

Officers said they are “keeping an open mind” over what has happened to her.

However Mr Reed, a retired teacher with terminal cancer, fears she is being used for sex, as a drug mule or for “some sort of marriage arrangement”.

He told the News: “It seems practically certain that our daughter has been targeted, being seen as extremely vulnerable, for some nefarious, as yet unknown purpose.

“The situation is not only ominous but very time sensitive as Leah is totally reliant on a drug called lithium.”

The couple, who live in Orchard Way, Melbourn, and have nine children, have been in close contact with police and the British High Commission in Pakistan as they wait for news of their daughter,  a former Bassingbourn Village College student,

Mrs Reed said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support we have had from people close to us and from the police, which is all helping.

“I want to say ‘hang on, you will be found’ to Leah because I know she is having a horrible time.”

Inspector James Sutherland, of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said they have “no reason to believe at this time that she has come to any harm”.

He said: “I fully understand the genuine concerns that the family have, but we are not jumping to any conclusions.

“We are keeping an opening mind as to why Leah has chosen, if indeed she has, to travel abroad and travel to Pakistan.

“We are treating her as a vulnerable adult and there are a number of risks associated with that.

“If she travelled to Pakistan, she will be less able to safeguard herself and to avail herself of help if she needed it.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of a British National missing in Pakistan.

“We are looking into these, and stand ready to provide consular assistance.”

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