Three women freed from a home in London may have been held there as slaves for as long as 30 years, London police said Thursday.
The women were rescued when one of them called Freedom Charity after seeing a television special about forced marriages, the BBC reported
. The nonprofit works to stop human trafficking.
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The women who were freed were a Malaysian woman, 69, an Irish woman, 57, and a British woman who was 30 and may have spent her entire life in the Lambreth, Britain, house in captivity, the BBC said. None of the three were related.
A 67-year-old couple was arrested.
“We have seen some cases when people have been held for 10 years, but we have never seen anything of this magnitude before,” Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland told the BBC. He explained that the women were controlled and stayed indoors, although they were given some freedom.
Police officers reported no signs of sexual abuse in this case.
Freedom Charity has provided a safe place for the women.
Aneeta Prem, who founded Freedom Charity, said the women were held as domestic slaves and were "highly traumatized" when they were rescued, The Guardian said
“One of the key things that has come up is that these three ladies were absolutely terrified by these people," she told Sky News
Prem told Sky News that the women were terrified of being caught contacting her organization and “felt they were in massive danger.”
“The home secretary is shocked by this appalling case and while the police need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened here, the home secretary has made clear her determination to tackle the scourge of modern slavery,” a spokesperson for the Home Office told the BBC.
The BBC said MP Frank Field, who is vice-chariman of the human trafficking foundation, talked about how brave the women had to be to make the phone call. “Much more needs to be done to help victims come forward,” he said.
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