Three women held in captivity in a London home for at least 30 were freed earlier this month, and their captors were arrested on Thursday.

London Slaves Freed

A 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old woman from Britain, who may never have spent a day outside the house, were the three captives. Their escape was first set into motion about a month ago, after the women watched a documentary about forced marriage, reported The Guardian. During the program, they were introduced to the founder of the Freedom Charity foundation – Aneta Prem.

"The Irish lady saw me on TV and the name of the charity was a catalyst,” said Prem, who received a call from the captive. “That is exactly what they wanted, they wanted freedom.” Prem, working with both her charity and police, began to labor towards rescuing the three women.

“We gained their trust over a period of telephone calls when they could telephone. That had to be done in secret," she said." They were very brave to carry on with that. It was very difficult for them to get to the telephone. They gave us set times when they were able to speak to us."

"They were living lives of domestic servitude," Prem added. "They did have rooms that they could use but they were really restricted about what they could do and could never leave the front door."

London Slaves Held Captive For 30 years

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, who leads the London police's human trafficking unit, is familiar with the problem with servitude, slavery and forced labor, but has never seen anything on the scale endured by these three women. "In London we have investigated cases where people have been held in servitude or forced labor for up to 10 years, but 30 years is quite extraordinary and not something we have seen before," he said.

"There's a lot of difficulties with the victims," he added. "These are deeply traumatized people and we are getting professional help to establish the events that have happened to them. It's been a very difficult process to establish the facts, one that we haven't experienced before.”

Once the facts were established, Hyland and law enforcement were able to apprehend the couple alleged to be responsible for the captivity. The man and woman, both 67, were arrested on Thursday at 7:30am local time in Lambeth. The couple has since been released on bail.

– Chelsea Regan

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