Police have arrested one man and launched an urgent hunt for a second
Detectives said they believed the victim was snatched off the street by a man in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, before taken to woodland.
She was then taken to a van where she was sexually assaulted before being left in the woods and finding her own way to a nearby park, Greater Manchester Police said.
A spokesperson added: “Thankfully the victim was safely re-united with her family a short time later, and we’re putting in place plans to give them the necessary support at such a distressing time.”
A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of abduction and sexual assault on Wednesday evening and has been taken into custody for questioning.
Detectives said they were “keeping an open-mind” and were still searching for a second man said to have been “acting suspiciously in the area around the time of the incident”.
The force released two images of the man earlier on Wednesday and asked anyone who sees him to call 999.
The first image was captured moments after the alleged abduction, while the second is from around 30 minutes later, police said.
In the latter, the man appears to be wearing his jacket around his waist in Gainsborough Road as he heads towards The Snipe.
“We wish to speak to him urgently in relation to this incident and we have a large number of officers remaining in the Droylsden, Ashton-under-Lyne, and wider areas to find him,” a spokesperson said.
The seven-year-old girl was reportedly abducted from Warne Avenue, Droylsden, on Wednesday afternoon.
Police received a number of reports about the abduction after 4pm.
The force said it maintain a large police presence in the area as the search continues.