Three women were rescued Thursday morning from a south London home, where they'd been held as slaves for at least 30 years. Police arrested two suspects–a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman—at the same address.
The rescued women–a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman—were all “highly traumatized,” according to a statement from Scotland Yard. The 30-year-old woman is believed to have been born into captivity.
"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 said at a press conference.
In October, a London charity, Freedom Charity, received a phone call from one of the woman, who had just seen a television documentary produced by the charity about forced marriages. Freedom Charity contacted police, who found the home and, with the help of “sensitive negotiations” from the charity, secured the women's release.
"We started in-depth to talks to them when they could, it had to be pre-arranged,” Freedom Charity founder Aneeta Prem told Sky News. “They gave us set times when they were able to speak to us. It was planned that they would be able to walk out of the property. The police were on standby. They were able to leave the property, but it was done in such a way... it was a very, very excellent way it happened."
Prem added that, while the women were “terrified” by their captors, there were no immediate signs of sexual abuse.
"I'm so grateful they saw the [documentary]," Prem said. "Now they will try to re-build their lives."