Worst case of human trafficking: three women rescued in south London

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Three women have been rescued after being held as slaves in a south London house for 30 years.

A 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old from Malaysia were rescued alongside a woman of 30 who reportedly has spent her entire life in captivity.

On Thursday the police revealed that the three women were kept against their will in a south London house for 30 years. Scotland Yard's human trafficking unit said that their case is the worst case of modern slavery they had ever come across in Britain.

The youngest of the victims, who is now 30 years old, is thought to have spent her entire life in servitude, without any normal contact with the outside world. It is not clear whether she was born in the house where they were kept or brought there as a young child.

Officers had been alerted to the women's plight by a charity which had been contacted directly by one of the victims. The woman apparently had summoned up the courage to call the charity after watching a TV program on forced marriage.

Although they were rescued several weeks ago, the three women's case was kept secret until Thursday, when a man and a woman, both 67, were arrested at their south London home. The pair have been referred to by the victims as being “heads of the family”, suggesting a wider organization may be behind the crime.

Police has reported last night that there officers are now searching possible linked addresses for bodies amid fears that the terrible case may be part of a wider ring of abductions, in which other people may have died while in captivity.

"All three women, who were highly traumatised, were taken to a place of safety where they remain," Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland told reporters.

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