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Friday November 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday November 22, 2013 MYT 8:47:14 AM
LONDON: A 69-year-old Malaysian woman was rescued after being held captive as a domestic slave at a house here for over 30 years.
Also rescued were a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton who had been held at a property in Lambeth from childhood, reported Sky News, a UK-based news channel.
All three, who were not related and described by police as “highly traumatised”, were taken to a place of safety.
The news channel added that two people – a man and a woman, both 67 – have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude.
Meanwhile, AFP, quoting Scotland Yard, said police swooped in after being contacted last month by Freedom Charity, which received a call from a woman stating she was being held against her will.
The movement helps young people to understand forced marriage and honour-based violence.
Police said the woman had contacted the movement after watching a television documentary featuring the group’s work.
Freedom Charity founder Aneeta Prem told the British media that it was the 57-year-old Irish woman who phoned the organisation.
“I think all of them saw me on the news and made a decision because of the name of the charity and because they had seen me on TV – that gave them the courage to make that phone call,” said Prem, referring to the SOS by the three women to her.
She described the victims’ treatment as “barbaric”. She also claimed to the Daily Mail newspaper that the women suffered physical and mental abuse.
“I don’t believe the neighbours knew anything about it at all. It was just an ordinary house in an ordinary street.
“They felt they were in massive danger. They did have rooms that they could use but they were really restricted about what they could do and could never leave the front door.
“It is absolutely unbelievable that people can ever find themselves in this position. It is an amazing story,” Prem told the daily.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from the Metropolitan police’s human trafficking unit, told BBC: “We have seen some cases when people have been held for 10 years, but we have never seen anything of this magnitude before.”
He added that the women had controlled lives and spent most of their time indoors, but they had some amount of controlled freedom.
Hyland also applauded the actions of Freedom Charity and were working in partnership to support the victims.
“We have launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations.”
Officers said the two suspects, who were considered the “heads of the family”, had been taken to a south London police station for questioning.
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