One London Captive Spent Entire Life Imprisoned

London cops hunt for more captives—or bodies

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 22, 2013 5:20 AM CST | Updated Nov 22, 2013 7:17 AM CST

(Newser) – Investigators piecing together the bizarre case of three women held in servitude for decades suspect there may be more victims involved, reports the Telegraph. After the arrest of a man and woman in south London, both aged 67, police are searching possible linked addresses for other slaves—or possibly bodies. In other developments:

  • The circumstances of the captivity are still unclear. Police say the women's lives were "greatly controlled"—but they also had some "controlled freedom," the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The 30-year-old woman had apparently spent her entire life in captivity before the police rescue. Asked if she had gone to school, a police spokesman said she had "no contact with the outside world that one would see as normal."

  • The other victims are a 69-year-old Malaysian woman and a 57-year-old Irish woman. It's not clear who the parents of the 30-year-old are, but investigators say they haven't seen any evidence of sexual abuse.
  • The three women, who had become "institutionalized to a very bad way of living," found the courage to contact the anti-domestic abuse Freedom Charity after it came up in a documentary, charity founder Aneeta Prem tells the BBC. Over weeks of secretive phone calls, the charity was able to gain the women's trust. "One of the key things that has come up is that these three ladies were absolutely terrified by these people," she says.
  • After leaving the house last month, the women were so traumatized that it took investigators weeks to obtain enough information to arrest their alleged captors. The freed women are now being treated by specialists in a place of safety, police say.
  • Police have released few details about the "heads of the family" who were arrested. The couple, who police say are not British, were bailed after being questioned at a south London police station yesterday.
  • There is no sign that the neighbors had any idea what was going on. The house in the London borough of Lambeth was "just an ordinary house in an ordinary street," Prem says.

Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, speaks to the Associated Press in London yesterday.
Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, speaks to the Associated Press in London yesterday.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
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We have never seen anything of this magnitude before. - Kevin Hyland from the Metropolitan Police's Human Trafficking Unit

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