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Irish Embassy in London look to establish details behind woman freed from slavery

The Department of Foreign Affairs said tonight that consular assistance is available if needed.

Kevin Hyland, head of the Metropolitan Police's human trafficking unit speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard HQ.
Kevin Hyland, head of the Metropolitan Police's human trafficking unit speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard HQ.
Image: AP Photo/Sky TV via Associated Press Television

Updated 11.23pm

THE EMBASSY OF Ireland in London has made contact with British authorities tonight to “establish the details” behind reports that one of three women freed from captivity in London was Irish.

The Head of Scotland Yard’s Human Trafficking Unit told reporters earlier that one of the women is a 57-year-old Irish woman, and that it was she who made the call to a charity which led to their rescue.

The Embassy will be offering all available consular assistance to the woman if it is confirmed that she is Irish, the Department of Foreign Affairs said tonight.

Contact Gardaí

Scotland Yard has not yet moved to contact Gardaí in relation to the rescue. Any such request would be dealt with through Interpol.

The three women were discovered in a house, having been held captive for thirty years.

They had made contact with Freedom Charity last month after seeing a television documentary which described its work. The charity contacted police who then carried out the rescue on October 25th.

The charity’s founder Aneeta Prem spoke briefly this evening to Channel 4 News on claims that the women had a form of “controlled freedom”:

“They may have been seen on occasions, but they were always escorted”.

A man and a woman, both aged 67 and described as non-British, were arrested at their home in London “as part of an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude”, Scotland Yard said.

A spokesman for Britain’s interior minister Theresa May said she was “shocked by this appalling case”.

He said May would wait for the outcome of the police investigation, but “she’s made clear her determination to tackle the scourge of modern slavery”.

“Vigilance and action”

Meanwhile, the Migrants Rights Council Ireland welcomed the rescue of the women, with Director Siobhán O’Donoghue saying that “shocking cases like this highlight the need for vigilance and action”.

The Council said it has dealt with “200 separate cases of forced labour around [Ireland]“.

“This is happening right now in Ireland”, O’Donoghue said, “a fact the authorities here are often reluctant to believe, which means victims of slavery are often not identified as such”.

Additional reporting by AFP and Michelle Hennessy

Originally published 10.31pm

Read: Irish woman made call that freed her from 30 years of slavery >

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