Lambeth slave case: Couple held by police were arrested in the 1970s


Police reveal limited details about shocking case


By SWLondoner staff

The couple who held three slaves captive in their Lambeth home for more than 30 years were arrested in the 1970s, police confirmed today.

The couple, both 67,  are understood to be married and are being held separately. The police – who have a 37-strong human trafficking team working on the investigation – described the case as unique.

However, they would not confirm their nationality or the reason for their arrest.

A house in Lambeth has been cordoned off by police, who have conducted a 12-hour search and seized over 2,500 exhibits.

“What we have uncovered so far is a complicated and disturbing picture of emotional control over many years. Brainwashing would be the most simplest term, yet that belittles the years of emotional abuse these victims have had to endure,” said Metropolitan Police Commander Steve Rodhouse.

“We are unpicking a story that spans at least 30 years of these women’s lives, and all of this requires police activity to turn that into evidence.

“It is not as brutally obvious as women being physically restrained inside an address and not allowed to leave.”

Mr Rodhouse confirmed that a 69-year-old Malaysian, a 57-year-old Irish national and a 30-year-old Briton are now receiving specialist care in a safe location.

He added the victims had been ‘beaten’ and ‘brainwashed’ but not sexually abused.

David Cameron’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister regarded the case as ‘utterly appalling’, while London mayor Boris Johnson condemned reports as deplorable.

Labour MP Frank Field, vice-chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation, added: ‘The horrors of this case emphasise the crucial need for a new Modern Slavery Bill, along with immediate practical measures to tackle modern slavery, which we are increasingly aware is taking place through many insidious forms across the country.’

Meanwhile, an estimated 2,000 people are being kept as slaves in Britain according to the Serious Organised Crime Agency – and one in four are children.

“This case is indicative of a growing problem in the UK and around the globe,” said Andrew Wallis, the head of anti-human trafficking charity Unseen

“It’s an industry and it’s an illicit trade with low risk of being caught and very high return, with a human being turned into a commodity to be bought and sold and exploited.”

Follow us @SW_Londoner

Picture courtesy of ray forster, with thanks

Related Articles