Nov 25, 2013

    Enslaved women lived in 'collective'


    THREE women enslaved in a house in London for 30 years lived there in some kind of "collective" and shared a political ideology with their captors, police said on Saturday.

    The women were rescued after calling an anti-slavery charity for help. Police arrested a man and a woman, both 67, of Indian and Tanzanian origin who had come to Britain in the 1960s.

    "We believe that two of the victims met the male suspect in London through a shared political ideology, and that they lived together at an address that you could effectively call a 'collective'," Commander Steve Rodhouse said in a statement.

    "Somehow that collective came to an end and how the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects...for over 30 years is what we are seeking to establish, but we believe emotional and physical abuse has been a feature of all the victims' lives."

    The women were freed four weeks ago but police made the case public only last Thursday as the arrests were made, detailing one of the strangest and longest-running incidences of domestic servitude to emerge in Britain.

    The captives, a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton, may not have been physically restrained but were bound to their captors by "invisible handcuffs" through beatings and brainwashing, the police said.

    The women were occasionally able to leave the house, and detectives are trying to understand the "invisible handcuffs" that were used to control them.

    One neighbour, Mr Marius Feneck, who lives in the same block, claimed he received love letters from the 30-year-old woman, The Telegraph reported.

    "She used to send me pictures and write me letters about how she wanted to be with me," he told the Mail on Sunday. But he "wasn't interested".

    The woman posted the letters in his letterbox when she walked past with her alleged captors, the reports said.