Lambeth’s top policeman, chief superintendent Matt Bell, has said the emerging story of three women held captive in the borough for 30 years is “horrific”.
In an exclusive interview with Brixton Blog today, Bell also said he found the details of the incident “shocking”.
A man and a woman were arrested earlier today after three women were rescued from reportedly being held captive for 30 years.
Bell told the Blog: “It’s amazing and shocking that sort of thing could go on in modern society, let alone right under our noses here.
“These three women were given some sort of controlled freedom. I have never heard of anything like this ever happening in Lambeth before, but it makes you wonder.”
Bell told Brixton Blog at Lambeth Town Hall that he only heard about the case today when it broke in the media, as the operation had been led by the Metropolitan Police’s Human Traffic Unit. He said he did not know where in Lambeth the women were held.
Detective inspector Kevin Hyland, from the unit, said: “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. We have launched an extensive investigation to establish the facts surrounding these very serious allegations.”
He continued: “A television documentary on forced marriages relating to the work of Freedom Charity was the catalyst that prompted one of the victims to call for help and led to their rescue.”
Speaking at Lambeth Town Hall, Matt Bell added: “I am grateful that the charity was able to bring this to our attention and that we can deal with it and rescue these women and start to get their lives back to normality.
Earlier today Brixton Blog spoke to Aneeta Prem from the Freedom Charity live in BBC World Service programme World Have Your Say.
Prem said: “We have ensured that they are in a place of safety and they are given all the help that can be given to them.
“They are going to have to rebuild their lives and that’s going to be very difficult, but it’s also a story of great hope.”
Matt Bell added: “I am grateful that the charity was able to bring this to our attention and that we can deal with it and rescue these women and start to get their lives back to normality.