British police rescue 3 women allegedly held as slaves, one reportedly for 30 years

Three women have been rescued from a London house after one of them called a charity to say she had been held against her will for more than 30 years, British police said.

Metropolitan Police said a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman were arrested on Thursday at a home in south London as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude.

The investigation comes after a charity contacted police in October to report that a woman had phoned to say she'd been held unwillingly for more than three decades.

The catalyst for the call was a television documentary on Sky News about forced marriages, according to police.

Police said further inquiries revealed the location of the south London house and that with the help of Freedom Charity, a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old British woman were rescued.

"All three women, who were highly traumatized, were taken to a place of safety where they remain," police said in a statement, adding that an investigation of the "very serious" allegations was under way.

"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," Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland said, according to Sky News.

It was unclear which woman claimed she had been held for more than 30 years and there was no other information immediately on the circumstances of the other two.

Freedom Charity advises and supports victims of forced marriages or honor-based violence, according to Sky News.

The charity was not immediately able to comment on the rescue or investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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