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Officers from the Human Trafficking Unit arrested the man and woman, both 67, at their Lambeth, south London home early Thursday as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude, the Metropolitan Police said. They are in custody.
The “highly traumatized” victims — a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, 57-year-old Irish woman and 30-year-old Briton — have been taken to a place of safety and are being cared for by a charity, the Metropolitan Police said.
Names of the suspects were not released, and police said only that they are not British nationals.
Police said they’d been alerted in October to the situation by Freedom Charity, which got a phone call from a woman saying “she had been held against her will in a house in London for more than 30 years.”
“We have launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations,” Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland said.
“We’ve established that all three women were held in this situation for at least 30 years. They did have some controlled freedom.”
Hyland praised the actions of Freedom Charity and said police were working with the organization to support the victims.
“They are extremely traumatized, which explains the discrepancy between when the Freedom Charity were contacted and the arrests were made,” he said. “It would be wrong of us to move at a pace that would further traumatize any victims.”
Hyland said police were unsure where the youngest victim had been born, “but she appears to have been in servitude for her entire life.”