Three women have walked to freedom through the front door of a south London house where they were held for 30 years in what police described as the worst case of modern-day slavery ever uncovered in Britain.
Police said on
All three women – a 69-year-old from Malaysia, a 57-year-old from Ireland and the British woman – were described as “deeply traumatized”, and were being looked after by specialists.
It began when the Irish woman made an audacious telephone call for help last month. She acted after seeing a television documentary and watching the founder of an organization called the Freedom Charity being interviewed.
Aneeta Prem, the founder of the organization, said it was a news interview she carried out after a documentary that led to the call for help. “The Irish lady saw me on TV and the name of the charity was a catalyst. That is exactly what they wanted, they wanted freedom,” she said.
The charity contacted the police. Tense negotiations took place over a week during secret telephone calls that the women were able to make from the house, before – in a carefully choreographed rescue – the three women were able to walk out of the property on 25 October, where officers were waiting.
They were taken into specialist care, and over days and weeks, they were coaxed into talking about what had happened to them. Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, who leads the Met’s human trafficking unit, said what had been uncovered in the home was like nothing the police had ever experienced before.
“In London we have investigated cases where people have been held in servitude or forced labour for up to 10 years, but 30 years is quite extraordinary and not something we have seen before,” he said.