A couple living in London are in custody after British police rescued three women who claim to have been held captive in their home for three decades. The man and women in custody are both 67, and are being held "as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude," according to a statement from Metropolitan Police. Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland of the Met's Human Trafficking Unit told NBC that police have "launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations," which bears an eerie resemblance to the case of three Cleveland women who rescued after 10 years of captivity earlier this year.
The three women — 69-year-old Malaysian woman , a 57-year-old Irish woman and 30-year-old Briton — were found after a tip from domestic abuse charity Freedom Charity in October. The organization received a call, apparently from one of the women in the home, who said that she had been held captive for over 30 years. The woman was apparently prompted to get in touch with the charity after seeing a television documentary on forced marriages that focused on the group's work. All three were rescued a few weeks ago, and are now in a safe location, according to Met police. The arrests happened today.
In a statement to reporters, Met police said they believe the 30-year-old Briton has never had contact with the outside world. As one would expect, all three women were "deeply traumatized" when found, and details of their ordeal are coming very slowly.
Aneeta Prem of Freedom Charity told the Guardian that it appears the women were kept in "domestic slavery." They didn't leave the home out of fear of the suspects. Prem said that the organization suspects the three suffered from physical and mental abuse, but there's no evidence to suggest sexual abuse at this time.