(USA TODAY) Three "highly traumatized" women have been rescued on Thursday from a house in south London where they were apparently held captive in "domestic slavery" for three decades, Scotland Yard said Thursday.
The three, rescued from a residential address a few weeks ago by detectives from Scotland Yard's Human Trafficking Unit, were identified as a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman who is believed to have spent her entire life in the house.
"All three women, who were highly traumatized, were taken to a place of safety where they remain," Scotland Yard said in a statement.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland, from the Human Trafficking Unit, told reporters Thursday that the three had some "controlled freedom."
The three were rescued after one of them phoned Freedom Charity, which works on issues involving forced marriages, and began plotting their escape.
Two suspects – a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman – were arrested Thursday at the home, Scotland Yard said in a statement.
Police indicated that the rescue, originally set in motion in October, took about a week to pull off, indicating that the women were freed a few weeks ago.
Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, said the three women were in effect kept in "domestic slavery" and felt they were not allowed to leave the house because of their fear of the two suspects.
"One of they key things that has come up is that these three ladies were absolutely terrified by these people," she told Sky News, saying the two suspects appeared to have acted as "the heads of the family."
Prem said the three appear to have undergone physical and mental abuse, but that there was no indication of a sexual element to their incarceration.
Hyland, from the Human Trafficking Unit, said one of the captives called for help after viewing a TV documentary on forced marriages relating to the work of Freedom Charity, The Guardianreports.
Prem said the women had to make calls to Freedom Charity in secret and at set times because "they felt like they were in massive danger."
"With the help of the police we were able to get them out," she said.