A couple in their 60s have been arrested after police arrested three alleged slavery victims said to have been held against their will for at least 30 years.
One of the women - who is 30 years old - is believed to have spent her whole life in servitude. She was rescued from a house in the London borough of Lambeth, alongside a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old Malaysian woman.
Police say the alarm was raised last month when one of the women contacted Freedom Charity, who in turn contacted the police.
Investigating officers said they had "never seen anything of this magnitude before" and described the three as "deeply traumatised".
– Detective inspector Kevin Hyland
We've established that all three women were held in this situation for at least 30 years. They did have some controlled freedom.
The human trafficking unit of the Metropolitan Police deals with many cases of servitude and forced labour. We've seen some cases where people have been held for up to 10 years but we've never seen anything of this magnitude before.
Police explained the women were freed on October 25 ahead of the 67-year-old couple's arrest this morning, as police tried to establish the facts of the case.
Freedom Charity founder Aneeta Prem said when the charity was contacted for help by one of the victims they realised it was "a one-chance call to make a difference".
She said the women were very distressed when they were rescued but also very relieved to be free.
She added that as a charity they felt "very humbled" they were able to assist in "something so miraculous".
A spokesman for the Home Office has said the Home Secretary is "appalled" by the case in which three women are understood to have been held against their will for the at least 30 years.
– Home Office spokesman
The Home Secretary is shocked by this appalling case and while the police need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened here, she's made clear her determination to tackle the scourge of modern slavery.