“Decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis but, save in clearly identified circumstances, or where legal restrictions apply, the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released by police forces to the press or the public. Such circumstances include a threat to life, the prevention or detection of crime or a matter of public interest and confidence. This approach aims to support consistency and avoid undesirable variance which can confuse press and public (para 3.5.2)."
The police said that the women had some "controlled freedom", and officers were trying to understand the "invisible handcuffs" that were used to exert control over the women.
Commander Rodhouse said "trying to label this investigation as domestic servitude or forced labour is far too simple".
He said the case appeared to be "a complicated and disturbing picture of emotional control over many years, brainwashing would be the most simplest term, yet that belittles the years of emotional abuse these victims have had to endure".
This is because the government’s immigration policies are themselves responsible for migrants’ susceptibility to forced labour. The push to criminalise people who are working without permission is a major deterrent to abused workers seeking support. The continued reduction of the rights and entitlements of a whole spectrum of migrants leaves many with little option but to accept exploitative work. Furthermore, the removal of domestic worker visa holders' right to change employers has significantly increased these workers’ vulnerability to exploitation.
Forced labour is not a simple matter. Our research shows that any situation of severe labour exploitation results from a complex set of overlapping factors: rising employment precarity, restricted access to welfare, poverty, destitution and insufficient labour regulation, and often immigration status insecurity all combine to contribute to individuals’ entry into, continuation in, or preclusion of exit from forced labour.
The BBC understands the couple arrested in the Brixton alleged slavery case are former Maoist activists Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda.
According to Marxist archives the couple were leading figures at the Mao Zedong Memorial Centre based in Acre Lane Brixton in the late 1970s. The Metropolitan Police has refused to confirm or deny the names which are now being widely reported.
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