UK police arrest couple suspected of holding three women captive for 30 years

NEWS

(CNN) — British police have arrested a couple on suspicion of holding three women captive for more than 30 years, Scotland Yard announced Thursday.

Officers from the Human Trafficking Unit arrested the man and woman, both 67, at their south London home as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude, the Metropolitan Police said. They are in custody.

The “highly traumatized” victims — a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, 57-year-old Irish woman and 30-year-old Briton — have been taken to a place of safety, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Police said that they had been alerted in October to the situation by Freedom Charity, which had received a phone call from a woman saying “she had been held against her will in a house in London for more than 30 years.”

“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,” Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland said.

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.