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London police free three women 'held for 30 years'

Video by Bénédicte PAVIOT

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-22

British police have arrested a couple in their sixties after rescuing three women – a Briton, a Malaysian and an Irish national – who it is believed were held as domestic slaves for at least 30 years, Scotland Yard said Thursday.

British police rescued three women last month from a London home where it is believed they were held as slaves for at least 30 years by a couple who was taken into custody.

Officials identified the victims as a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish citizen and a 30-year-old British national, who has spent her entire life in domestic slavery.

Police said the women were "highly traumatised".

Detectives arrested a man and a woman, both 67, at their home in south London in connection with the discovery.

Police acted after being contacted last month by the Freedom Charity, which received a call from a woman saying 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 killings – after seeing a TV documentary featuring the group's work.

"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," said Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from Scotland Yard's Human Trafficking Unit.

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.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2013-11-21

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