London police rescue three women held captive for 30 years

AFP , Thursday 21 Nov 2013

British police on Thursday rescued three women from a London home where they were believed held as slaves for at least 30 years by a couple who were arrested.

Officials identified the victims as a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton.

Police described the women as "highly traumatised".

Detectives arrested a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman at their home in south London.

Police swooped after being contacted last month by the Freedom Charity, which received a call from a woman stating she had been held against her will in a house in London for more than 30 years, Scotland Yard said.

Police said the woman had contacted the charity -- which helps young people to understand forced marriage and honour-based violence -- after seeing a TV documentary featuring the group's work.

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from Scotland Yard's Human Trafficking Unit, said: "A television documentary on forced marriages relating to the work of Freedom Charity was the catalyst that prompted one of the victims to call for help and led to their rescue."

Police inquiries established the location of the house and with the help of "sensitive negotiations" conducted by the charity, the three women were rescued.

"We applaud the actions of Freedom Charity and are working in partnership to support these victims who appear to have been held for over 30 years," Hyland said.

"We have launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations."

Earlier this year, three women who were imprisoned in a house in Cleveland, Ohio, for more than a decade were freed.

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