Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News.
The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years in a house in Lambeth, south London.
She contacted the Freedom Charity after seeing its founder Aneeta Prem in a report last summer about forced marriages.
Scotland Yard said the charity, which advises and supports victims of forced marriages or honour-based violence, got in touch and helped with sensitive negotiations, which revealed the location of the house and led to the rescue of the three women.
Police believe the youngest of the alleged victims may have spent her entire live as a domestic slave.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland from the Metropolitan Police’s human trafficking unit told a news conference at Scotland Yard that the force had “never seen anything of this magnitude”.
Officers said the two suspects, a man and a woman, both aged 67 and not British, have been taken to a south London police station for questioning.
One of the three alleged victims is a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, the other a 57-year-old Irish woman and the third a 30-year-old Briton.
All three, described by police as “highly traumatised”, were taken to a place of safety where they remain.
Ms Prem told Sky News it was the Irish woman who phoned the Freedom Charity after watching her on television.
“I think all of them saw me on the news and made a decision because of the name of the charity and because they had seen me on TV – that gave them the courage to make that phone call,” she said.
“I can’t go in to too many details but they managed to get to a phone and make a call to us.
“We started to talk to them in depth when we could. It had to be pre-arranged when they were able to make calls to us and it had to be done very secretly because they felt they were in massive danger.
“It was planned that they would be able to walk out of the property. The police were on standby.”
DI Hyland said the women were rescued on October 25 but the suspects were not immediately arrested as officers had to “establish the facts” from “extremely traumatised” victims. see more