Share This Page

3 women held for 30 years in London home, police say

| Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 9:48 p.m.

LONDON — Three women have been freed from 30 years of captivity in a south London home, police announced on Thursday, including one woman believed to have spent her entire life as a virtual slave.

London's Metropolitan Police announced the rescues after two people — a man and a woman, both 67 — were arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude.

The investigation was initiated when one of the captive women contacted a charity, which then went to the police. Those freed “some weeks ago” are a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman.

Police said they do not believe the victims are related and said there was no evidence of sexual abuse. While it is unclear whether the 30-year-old was born in the south London house, she appears to have been held in domestic servitude for her entire life, the force said.

Kevin Hyland, head of the force's human trafficking unit, said all three were “deeply traumatized” and have been in the care of a charity equipped to deal with severe trauma since they were freed.

The nationalities of those arrested were not immediately disclosed.

“When we had established the facts, we conducted the arrests,” Hyland said.

He said police were contacted in October by Freedom Charity, a group that raises awareness about child abuse, forced marriages and honor killings. It told the force it had received a call from a woman who said she had been held against her will at a London address for more than 30 years.

The catalyst for the woman's call was a television documentary on forced marriages, police said.

Police said an investigation uncovered the house in Lambeth and, with the help of Freedom Charity, the women were rescued.

“Their lives were greatly controlled,” Hyland said. “For much of it, they would have been kept on the premises.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.