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Europe

London 'slaves' met suspected captors in a 'collective'

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-24

Police say that two of the three women allegedly held as slaves in London for the past 30 years first began living with their suspected captor as part of a political collective. They were apparently controlled with ‘brainwashing’ and ‘beatings.’

Two of the three women allegedly kept as slaves in a London home for over 30 years first began living with one of their suspected captors as part of a political collective, police say. The suspected captors used "brainwashing" and "beatings" to control the enslaved women even after the collective apparently dissolved.

Police have also said that the two suspects, who were identified as non-British nationals, migrated from India and Tanzania in the 1960s. The couple – both 67 and thought to be married – were released on police bail until January after being arrested on suspicion of slavery, domestic servitude and immigration offences.

Escape

These are the latest developments in a case that has shocked Britain since it surfaced last week. The three women – a 30-year-old British woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old Malaysian woman – escaped from the house in the rough London area of Lambeth in late October, but police kept the details of the case quiet until the arrest of the suspects last Thursday.

The escape came about after the 57-year-old woman found the courage to contact Freedom Charity after watching a TV documentary. The charity, which was founded to help young people pushed into forced marriages or situations involving honour killings, worked closely with police to conduct sensitive negotiations needed to help the women escape.

Bound with ‘invisibile handcuffs’

The women are now in a safe place, according to the charity. Little is known about them, though it is believed that the 30-year-old woman has lived with the suspects and the other victims her entire life, meaning that she was either born into captivity or entered into it as an infant.

Police said that the captives had not been physically restrained at the couple’s apartment, but were bound to their captors by “invisible handcuffs” in a “disturbing picture of emotional control”.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters)
 

Date created : 2013-11-23

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