"Victims of slavery can be British," the BBC asserts, reporting on the story of a woman who says she was held captive for 13 years by a taxi driver she met as a teen. The tale is laid out in the memoir Secret Slave, penned by an author going by the pseudonym Anna Ruston, and it begins in 1987, when she says she was 15 and taken from a town in Midlands by a driver she calls Malik to meet his mom "for a cup of tea," the Times of London reports. That meeting, she says, resulted in her imprisonment, complete with sexual and physical abuse at the hands of Malik and other family members, until she was 28, at which point she escaped after slipping a note to someone during a medical appointment. She says she gave birth to four kids during her captivity, all shuffled off to various couples. The memoir's publishing firm provided a letter from Ruston's psychiatrist to the Times to confirm parts of her story.
Ruston says there were a few instances when rescue was near but still so far, including one time when cops raided Malik's house looking for drugs—they apparently believed his story that Ruston was sick and in a locked room to keep kids in the house out—and whenever she had to seek medical attention for herself or one of her four children. "There were always three or four people with me, so I couldn't see an escape," she says. "I never answered the doctors. I just nodded or shook my head." Even though she's now safe, she still doesn't feel like it, which is why she says she hasn't filed formal charges against Malik with police (she fears he'll go after her). But a UK anti-slavery commissioner says charges could still happen even without Ruston providing further info. "Sometimes there are ways of collating evidence without a victim," he says. (A woman escaped her dad's London cult after 30 years.)