Women held as 'slaves' in London were part of 'collective'

Women held as 'slaves' in London were part of 'collective'
Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland addresses the media outside New Scotland Yard in London on November 21, 2013, during a press meet concerning the rescue of three women believed to have been held as slaves for 30 years in a South London house.

LONDON - A couple accused of keeping three women as slaves in a London house for 30 years are of Indian and Tanzanian origin and two of the victims were part of a political "collective", police said on Saturday.

The two older victims involved in Britain's most shocking case of modern-day slavery are thought to have met the male suspect through a "shared political ideology" and initially lived with him as part of a collective, London's Metropolitan Police said.

The third victim, a 30-year-old woman, is believed to have spent her entire life in servitude in a case that has stunned Britain.

Police commander Steve Rodhouse said the couple, both aged 67, were of Indian and Tanzanian origin and had been living in Britain since 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'," he told reporters.

"Somehow that collective came to an end and... the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects." Police carried out house-to-house enquiries on Saturday, speaking to residents living near the south London address where the women were held.

The exact location has not been revealed but the police operation centred on a modern, low-rise block of flats in Peckford Place in Brixton, an area known for its vibrant nightlife and large Afro-Caribbean community.

Crowds of journalists gathered at the scene, two days after police first disclosed that the women had been rescued and their two alleged captors arrested as part of an investigation into slavery.

Neighbours spoke of their shock as police stood guard on Peckford Place. "The problem with this place is people don't speak to each other," said local resident Abdul Rogers.

"I don't even know my next-door neighbour," he added. "If I met them on the street now I would not be able to tell it was my next-door neighbour, which is not good for community cohesion."

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