A Malaysian woman is amongst three held as ‘domestic servitudes’ for over thirty years in a house near Lambeth, across the River Thames in a district of South London. They were rescued soon after one of them contacted an NGO, Freedom Charity, after watching the spokeswoman Aneeta Prem being featured on SkyNews.
UK Police Rescue 3 Women Allegedly Held as SlavesLONDON November 21, 2013 (AP)
British police say they have rescued three traumatized women allegedly held as slaves in south London, one of whom claims to have been held against her will for more than three decades.
Metropolitan Police said a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman were arrested on Thursday as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude.
The investigation comes after a charity contacted police in October to relay that a woman had phoned to say she’d been held unwillingly for more than 30 years.
Police said further inquiries revealed the location of the south London house and that with the help of Freedom Charity, a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman were rescued.
The force said the women are in a safe place.
And NBC story:
By Alexander Smith, NBC News contributor
Three women were rescued from a south London house where they were believed to have been held captive for more than 30 years, police said Thursday.
A man and a woman, both 67, were arrested “as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude,” the city’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Officers rescued a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, 57-year-old Irish woman, and 30-year-old British woman after receiving a call in October from a domestic abuse non-profit called Freedom Charity.
“All three women, who were highly traumatized, were taken to a place of safety where they remain,” the statement added.
“We applaud the actions of Freedom Charity and are working in partnership to support these victims who appear to have been held for over 30 years,” Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from the Met’s Human Trafficking Unit said.
“We have launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations.”
Hyland said a documentary on forced marriages relating to the work of Freedom Charity had prompted one of the women to call for help, claiming she had been held against her will in the house for 30 years.
The Met statement added: “Further enquiries by police revealed the location of the house and with the help of sensitive negotiations conducted by the charity the three women.”
Aneeta Prem of Freedom Charity told Kay Burley on SkyNews that these women were rescued a week after the Irish woman called her. She also told Burley “Three of them were afraid of their captors. They were terrified by these people (the couple who held them). They were not allowed any freedom”.
“They were held in an ordinary house in an ordinary street”.
Prem and her NGO has been fighting on human rights issues such as forced marriage. However, there are no details about this ‘domestic servitude’ case or whether or not it is about ‘forced marriage’.
Most interestingly, is there any matrimonial relationship between these women and the couple which was held. An interesting fact is that it is unlawful to practice polygamy in the UK.
Women Were ‘Kept As Slaves For Over 30 Years’
3:19pm UK, Thursday 21 November 2013
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.
She contacted the Freedom Charity after seeing its founder Aneeta Prem in a report last summer about forced marriages on Sky News.
Scotland Yard said the charity, which advises and supports victims of forced marriages or honour-based violence, got in touch after receiving the call.
Further inquiries by police revealed the location of the house and with the help of sensitive negotiations conducted by Freedom, the three women were rescued.
One was a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, the other a 57-year-old Irish woman and the third a 30-year-old Briton.
All three, described by police as “highly traumatised”, were taken to a place of safety where they remain.
Ms Prem told Sky News it was the Irish woman who phoned the Freedom Charity after watching her on television.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from the Met’s human trafficking unit, said: “We applaud the actions of Freedom Charity and are working in partnership to support these victims who appear to have been held for over 30 years.
“We have launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations.
“A television documentary on forced marriages relating to the work of Freedom Charity was the catalyst that prompted one of the victims to call for help and led to their rescue.”
Officers said the two suspects, a man and a woman, both aged 67, have been taken to a south London police station for questioning.
Earlier this year the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) – a joint operation by the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – revealed it helped in 1,485 cases of possible forced marriage in 2012.
These involved 60 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
The statistics for last year show that of the 744 cases where the age was known, more than 600 involved people under the age of 26.
The three women were rescued from the house a few weeks ago, after a “Protracted delicate negotiations”. Their ‘captive against their will’ became news only after the arrest of the couple this morning.
Detective Inspector Kevid Hyland of Human Trafficking Unit said in a media conference outside New Scotland Yard the Metropolitan Police has never seen the magnitude of ‘domestic servitude’ before. Hyland said it was a complicated process to establish what had happened in the house before the Metropolitan Police is satisfied for the arrest of the couple.
Last week British Prime Minister David Cameron made a lot of issue about Sri Lanka’s post civil war human rights violations and alleged missing persons as a pre-event and during his visit to the South Asian nation for attending the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting. He even broke protocol to visit the Tamil majority area in the north.
Cameron demanded that Sri Lankan administration for an investigation by an international team, for the alleged war crimes and missing persons, after armistice was achieved to end the civil war caused by Tamil separatist militant forces rebellion against the Sri Lankan government.
It seems that for a nation which is attempting to profess ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’, the crime of ‘modern slavery’ is actually being practiced miles from West Minister Palace.