2. Updated - 22 November 14:57 p.m., GMT
Detectives from the Metropolitan police Human Trafficking Unit have rescued a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman from a house in Lambeth after receiving reports that they had been kept as domestic slaves for up to thirty years.
A man and a woman, both 67, were arrested “as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude,” the city’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. Neither of them are British.
3. The BBC is reporting that the suspects have had prior run-ins with the police.
#slaves Suspects arrested by Met in 1970s
4. The police moved after they were contacted by Freedom Charity, which works to solve issues around “forced marriage and dishonour based violence.”
‘Freedom Charity’ received a call from a woman stating she had been held against her will in a house in London for more than 30 years.
3/3 Further enquiries by police revealed the location of the house and with the help of @FreedomCharity three women were rescued #London
More: Search of London house at center of slavery investigation took 12hrs, 55 bags of evidence recovered, amounting to 2,500 exhibits - Met
Speaking on Sky News, Aneeta Prem from the Freedom Charity said it was difficult for the woman to make the call because she’d been “institutionalised”. She said “You’re looking at domestic slavery and you wouldn’t expect that to be happening in London in 2013.”
She said it was “an ordinary house in an ordinary street…they had rooms but they were restricted in what they could do. They weren’t able to leave the property at all…There were lots of tears and lots of hugging [in the call centre] when they were freed.”
Aneeta Prem would like to praise the outstanding work of the Freedom Charity team and partners in getting the women to a place of safety.
Aneeta Prem of Freedom says the women were able to walk out of the house to waiting police after series of secret phone calls to charity
The woman apparently contacted the charity after seeing Prem on television. All three had been rescued on 25th October and it was the arrest of the the man and woman who had been living in the house that prompted the announcement. The youngest of the three has apparently had no contact whatsoever with the outside world.
11. At a press conference Det Insp Kevin Hyland of the Metropolitan Police has said all three women are now being looked after by a charity that cares for the deeply traumatised.
The human trafficking unit of the Metropolitan police deals with many cases of servitude and forced labour. We have seen some cases where people have been held for up to 10 years, but we have never seen anything of this magnitude before.