Think of everything that's happened in the last 30 years. Now think about this: Just today, three women held as slaves for 30 years were rescued. One of them was just 30 years old, which means she's spent her entire life in captivity. She, a 69-year-old Malaysian woman, and a 57-year-old Irish woman were rescued from a home in London. Police arrested their alleged captors, a couple in their late 60s. The women are said to be "highly traumatized." But there is some good news to this horrific story: So far it appears they were not sexually abused.
Still, 30 years is a heartbreakingly long time to spend in captivity. I'm not even sure which is sadder, this happening to you as an adult, when you've already known freedom, or as a baby, in which case you've lost your entire childhood. You really can't compare -- both are tragic.
London police say they'd never seen a captivity case this long before. It appears the women's lives were closely controlled and spent mostly indoors. Thank goodness they were at least exposed to television, though, because that's what finally saved them.
Apparently one of the women saw a documentary on forced marriages that featured the organization, Freedom Charity. Somehow she managed to call the organization -- I can't even imagine the tremendous courage that must have taken her. Freedom Charity founder Aneeta Prem says starting with that one, brave phone call, they carefully planned the women's rescue.
We started in-depth to talks to them when they could. It had to be pre-arranged. They gave us set times when they were able to speak to us ... It was planned that they would be able to walk out of the property. The police were on standby.
Amazing! The next time I see something about a rescue organization on TV or on ads, I'll think of these three women. You just never know who's watching the same thing with a flicker of hope. Doesn't that give you chills?
Now the hard work of rebuilding their lives begins for these three women. I'm sure they'll have plenty of help, but it's going to be difficult. But at least they'll be free.
Can you imagine some of the things these three women will have to learn or do differently now?
Image via Elvert Barnes/Flickr