Police lights (file photo)
Hide Caption

UK police: 3 women were slaves 'in simple terms'

a a a a
Share this story

LONDON (AP) -- Three women who were freed from a London home were victims of "slavery in simple terms," and were not trafficked or physically constrained, a senior police officer said Friday.

Police now are trying to figure out "what were the invisible handcuffs that were used" to exert such control, said Commander Steve Rodhouse.

"It is not as brutally obvious as women being physically restrained inside an address and not being allowed to leave," Rodhouse said.

"This may have appeared to be a normal family," he said.

On Thursday, police disclosed that they had released a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton from a home in south London on Oct. 25. Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland of the Metropolitan Police human trafficking unit said the women were "highly traumatized" and had "no real exposure to the outside world" for the past 30 years.

A man and a woman, both 67, were arrested early Thursday on suspicion of forced labor and domestic servitude. They have been also been arrested on suspicion of immigration offenses in the current case, police said.

Police said Friday that the pair had been arrested in the 1970s but wouldn't say why.

The suspectsn have surrendered their passports and agreed not to return to their house as part of their conditions to be freed on bail.

Police say they believe there are no other victims in the case, and they are confident that they know the true identifications of the three women. The relationships among the women are under investigation, police said.

"There has been physical abuse described as beatings," Hyland said. "We do not believe the victims were trafficked into the UK."

The arrests were part of a slavery investigation triggered when one of the women contacted a charity last month to say she was being held against her will.

The police also said there is no evidence to suggest anything of a sexual nature, but cautioned that the investigation continues. Police also would not speculate on any motivation, disclose the suspects' nationalities or say if the suspects were a couple.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More World News
Ukraine launches operation against insurgents
Ukraine launches operation against insurgents

Ukrainian forces launched an operation Thursday to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country's tumultuous…

Material on Australian shore examined in search
Material on Australian shore examined in search

Unidentified material that has washed ashore in southwestern Australia is being examined for any link to the lost Malaysian plane,…

SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search continues
SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search continues

The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching…

Drone strike in Yemen kills al-Qaida militants
Drone strike in Yemen kills al-Qaida militants

Yemeni security officials and tribal chiefs say that a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed several al-Qaida militants in the country's…

Lawmakers call for tighter sanctions on Russia
Lawmakers call for tighter sanctions on Russia

Two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Sunday for beefing up western sanctions against Russia to include its…

Malaysia, Flight 370 families talk financial aid
Malaysia, Flight 370 families talk financial aid

A deputy foreign affairs minister met with the passengers' relatives in Kuala Lumpur to talk about where to go next. Financial…

Pope, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
Pope, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

Marking Christianity's most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria,…

On Easter, Pope calls faithful to expand faith
On Easter, Pope calls faithful to expand faith

Pope Francis baptized 10 people Saturday and urged them to bring their faith "to the ends of the Earth" as he presided over an…

Sunken Korean ferry death toll could exceed 300
Sunken Korean ferry death toll could exceed 300

South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed `unforgivable, murderous…

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands to Jerusalem
Holy fire ceremony draws thousands to Jerusalem

The dark hall inside Christianity's holiest shrine was illuminated with the flames from thousands of candles on Saturday as worshippers…