AN IRISHWOMAN in her 50s is one of three women who were rescued by police after spending 30 years as slaves in a house in London.
It emerged this afternoon, that the victims were rescued last month from a house in Lambeth, south London after one of the three telephoned a freephone number for a charity after they had watched a TV programme about forced labour.
Police then moved, this morning, to arrest two people in their 60s who are suspected of falsely imprisoning the women.
Scotland Yard have confirmed to the Irish Post that the Irish woman is from the Republic and is 57-years-old.
One of the other two victims is a Malaysian woman, aged 69, while the third victim is a 30 year old British woman.
She is believed to have spent all her life in the house and has never seen the outside world, the Metropolitan police said.
Police said that although they were aware of cases of people being held for up to 10 years, they had never seen a case of this “magnitude” before.
The three are “highly traumatised” and are currently together at a place of safety, Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland said.
Det Insp Hyland said the women had had “some controlled freedom” during their incarceration, but the full details are still being pieced together.
The freeing of the women and subsequent police investigation is believed to have been triggered by a phonecall made by the Irishwoman to a charity last month after seeing a documentary on television.
Police said the Freedom Charity, which aims to advise and support victims of forced marriages or honour-based violence, got in touch after they received a call following a television documentary which investigated false marriages in the UK.
The two suspects, a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman, have been taken to a south London police station where they remain in custody. The suspects are not British and can be held for up to 48 hours without charge, police said.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said the Irish Embassy in London will be trying to find out who the Irish woman is: “Obviously it is something our embassy in London will be looking at in more detail and to see who the woman is and who her family are and so on. But from what I‘ve heard it’s a horrific experience,” he told Newstalk Radio.
The Embassy was contacted by the Irish Post but would not take any questions in relation to the woman.
Aneeta Prem, founder of Freedom Charity, told Sky News that the Irishwoman made contact with the charity last month.
She said it was necessary to gain the woman’s trust before informing the police, and that it was a week before the police rescued them.
It is understood the woman saw Ms Prem speaking on television during a previous interview and decided to get in touch.
She said the women were “absolutely terrified”.
In a statement she added: “Freedom charity, hearing about the situation of the women, took immediate action in planning their safe rescue. Facilitating their escape was achieved using utmost sensitivity and secrecy and with the safety of the women as our primary concern.
“I would like to praise the outstanding work of the Freedom charity team and partners for getting the women to a place of safety.”