Reports suggest police looking for more victims in '30-year slaves' probe

Reports suggest police looking for more victims in '30-year slaves' probe

It is understood police in England are investigating whether there may be more victims involved in a domestic slavery case from which three women, one of whom is Irish, were rescued.

A man and a woman, both aged 67, who were arrested yesterday have been released on bail until a date in January, Scotland Yard said today.

It is understood the 57-year-old Irish victim raised the alarm last month and all three were rescued.

They include a 69-year-old from Malaysia and a 30-year-old British woman who is believed to have been held in captivity since birth.

Chief reporter with the Telegraph newspaper in the UK, Gordon Raynor, says investigations are in the early stages.

Police believe the trio may have been held against their will for more than three decades. Investigating officers said they had ``never seen anything of this magnitude before'' and described the three as ``deeply traumatised''.

There was no evidence to suggest anything of a sexual nature, police said.

Aneeta Prem, founder of the Freedom Charity, described the elation her team felt when the women were rescued.

She said: “When we relayed back to the call centre that they were out, that they were on the pavement, the cheers could be heard around London. There was a lot of crying and it was incredibly emotional.”

“When I first met them, all of them just held on to me and we were all crying. It was incredibly emotional. I’ve seen them subsequently a number of times, and they’re doing very well considering what they’ve been under.

“Sadly, yes I can believe that this could happen in London. I’m a Londoner, I’m very proud to be a Londoner. However, if we think about our lives, where we’re so busy rushing around – do we know our neighbours? Do we know what’s happening next door?

“It’s an ordinary street in an ordinary place in London; there’s nothing extraordinary about where they were held, and nobody seemed to know anything about it.”

The UK's Home Office minister James Brokenshire told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Slavery is one of those issues which people felt had been consigned to the history books. The sad reality is that it is still there. We have seen increases year on year in the number of cases reported, and I expect that will continue to increase.

“That’s not necessarily because there are more of these cases, but more are coming to light. I think that’s a good thing, so that we are able to really confront this appalling trade in human misery, hold those responsible to account and make sure victims are properly safeguarded.”

Mr Brokenshire is taking a Slavery Bill through Parliament, which will introduce a maximum life sentence for modern-day slave-owners and create a new commissioner to drive action against the problem.


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