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Enslaved Women Were Held Captive With 'Invisible Handcuffs,' British Police Say

Metropolitan Police Commander Steve Rodhouse. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Three women who were held captive for decades in a British home were imprisoned by "invisible handcuffs," authorities reportedly said.

Metropolitan Police Commander Steve Rodhouse. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Commander Steve Rodhouse of the Metropolitan Police said at a news conference in Central London that the women were brainwashed by a couple in their 60s, according to the New York Times.

“What we have uncovered so far is a complicated and disturbing picture of emotional control over many years,” Rodhouse said. “Brainwashing would be a simple term, but I think that belittles the years of emotional abuse these victims have had to endure.”

[sharequote align="center"]“Brainwashing would be a simple term..."[/sharequote]

He added that it was “not as brutally obvious as women being physically restrained inside an address and not being allowed to leave.”

According to the New York Times, a Malaysian woman, 69, an Irishwoman, 57, and a British woman, 30 were freed last month after being held captive for decades.

The arrests were part of a slavery investigation triggered when one of the women contacted a charity last month to say she was being held against her will.

The police also said there is no evidence to suggest anything of a sexual nature, but cautioned that the investigation continues. Police also would not speculate on any motivation, disclose the suspects' nationalities or say if the suspects were a couple.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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