© 2024 WUTC
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Three Women May Have Spent 30 Years As Slaves In London

A very disturbing story is emerging from the U.K.:

-- "Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude at a house in London sparked by a report on Sky News. The inquiry was launched after one of three alleged victims told a charity she had been held against her will for more than 30 years." (Sky News)

-- "Three women have been 'rescued' from a house in south London as police investigate claims they were held as slaves for about 30 years." (BBC News)

-- "Officers from the London Metropolitan Police Service human trafficking unit detained a man and a woman, both aged 67, at their home in south London on Thursday morning." (Reuters)

The apparent victims, according to news reports, are a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman who may have spent her whole life at the home.

The news will remind readers of the horrific crime discovered in Cleveland last spring. There, three young women were held captive in a home for about a decade. In that case, the women were raped and tortured repeatedly. One gave birth during her captivity. Their tormentor, 53-year-old Ariel Castro, was arrested, convicted, sentenced to life in prison and just weeks later died after hanging himself — possibly while engaging in an auto-erotic act.

According to The Guardian, though, "there did not appear to any sexual element to the alleged captivity" in London.

Aneeta Prem, founder of the Freedom Charity that worked to remove the women from the home, tells Sky News that one of them "managed to get to a phone and make a call to us."

Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland from the Metropolitan Police's human trafficking unit said at a news conference, according to Sky, that the women may have been given "limited freedom" during the past three decades. But he also said he's "never seen anything of this magnitude."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.