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UK slave suspects of Indian, Tanzanian origin: police

Police stand guard outside a block of residential flats as enquiries are carried out in South London on November 23, 2013 about three women held captive for 30 years
Police stand guard outside a block of residential flats as enquiries are carried out in South London on November 23, 2013 about three women held captive for 30 years

A man and a woman suspected of holding three women in a London house for 30 years in Britain's worst case of modern-day slavery, are of Indian and Tanzanian origin, police said Saturday.

Two of the victims are thought to have met the male suspect through a shared "ideology", they added in a statement.

"The suspects are of Indian and Tanzanian origin that came to the UK in the 1960s," police Commander Steve Rodhouse said in a statement.

Media assemble as police stand guard outside a block of residential flats as enquiries are carried out in South London on November 23, 2013 about three women held captive for 30 years
Media assemble as police stand guard outside a block of residential flats as enquiries are carried out in South London on November 23, 2013 about three women held captive for 30 years

"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 added: "Somehow that collective came to an end and (somehow) the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects."

Rodhouse said police were carrying out house-to-house enquiries on Saturday, seeking information from local residents surrounding the case.

Police stand guard outside a block of residential flats as enquiries are carried out in South London on November 23, 2013 about three women held captive for 30 years
Police stand guard outside a block of residential flats as enquiries are carried out in South London on November 23, 2013 about three women held captive for 30 years

Police first disclosed on Thursday that the three women had been rescued, with one of them having spent her entire life in servitude.

A man and a woman, both aged 67, were arrested at their home on Thursday as part of an investigation into slavery.

The victims are a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 30-year-old Briton who were released after one of them called a charity.

A street sign in South London on November 23, 2013 as police carry out enquiries about three women held captive for 30 years
A street sign in South London on November 23, 2013 as police carry out enquiries about three women held captive for 30 years

Rodhouse said the women had remained at the address despite the collective coming to an end.

"The people involved, the nature of that collective and how it operated is all subject to our investigation and we are slowly and painstakingly piecing together more information," he said Saturday.

"The 30 year old woman does have a birth certificate; however that is all the official documentation we can find. We believe she has lived with the suspects and the other victims all her life, but of course at this early stage we are still seeking out evidence," he added.

Police on Friday said the victims had been beaten and brainwashed.

The suspects have been provisionally released until January pending further investigations.

The victims were rescued on October 25, one week after first making secret telephone contact with Freedom Charity, which normally deals with forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

Following telephone contact, the British and Irish women agreed to meet charity workers and police outside the house, before taking them back to the property to rescue the Malaysian.

"Part of the agreement on 25 October when they were removed from the suspects' address was that police would not at that stage take any action," Rodhouse said Saturday.

"Since that date we have been working to gain their trust and evidence, that came to fruition on 21 November when we were in a position to make arrests."