The couple arrested in the Lambeth slavery case were part of a radical Maoist collective, it has been revealed, named by multiple sources as Comrade Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda.
Known as Comrade Bala, he is believed to have set up the "Workers' Institute of Marxism–Leninism–Mao Zedong Thought" or "Brixton Institute", a Maoist order, which operated a bookshop and a meeting place out of a squat in south London.
In a 1978 thesis by Professor Steve Rayner described the group as “a tiny Maoist sect with about 25 members." They believed that 1970s Britain would be invaded and "liberated" by Chinese communist forces.
At the time, The Times diary occasionally included mocking reports of the group's activities.
A South London block of flats is being investigated in connection with the alleged slavery case
Rayner told the Evening Standard: “Most were foreign students who seemed to have difficulty adjusting to life in the UK.
"They refused to recognise the legitimacy of the state and maintained a hostile attitude towards the establishment and towards the rest of the far-left in Britain at that time.
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Documents from National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of England from the 1970s, seen by The Huffington Post UK, detail how Balakrishnan was thrown out of the party.
"Not only did Aravindan Balakrishnan seek disunity, but he also tried to conspire to build a clique of people around ’his line’ and establish his centre whilst still claiming to be in the Party, continuously saying one thing to the Party comrades and preaching and practising another to younger comrades and comrades under his ’discipline’," the report from August 1st, 1974, reads.
In a letter sent to Balakrishnan, the committee suspended him from all posts, saying he should "desist from your splittism, retract your social fascist comments and give serious self-criticism to the Communist Party".
The letter ends "Death to revisionism and opportunism ! Death to splittism! Long live the proletarian socialist revolution! Long live the proletariat of Britain! Long live the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist)! Long live Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought!"
A note on the letter reveals that "to date Aravindan Balakrishnan has refused even to accept the National Executive statement on his position and the Central Committee’s letter to him, arrogantly saying he will not accept anything from a 'fascist Party'."
The police have revealed they are searching 13 addresses used by the "collective" across London, describing how the women felt they were kept prisoner by "invisible handcuffs" and had originally met because they shared a political ideology.
One of the three women, allegedly trapped in the Lambeth "slave" house, wrote 500 letters to a neighbour describing her torment, he told a newspaper.
The 30-year-old, who police believe spent her whole life in the "collective", was named Rosie, according to Marius Feneck, who lives two floors above.
She was allegedly held captive along with 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old Malaysian woman until they were rescued from the south London home.
The Irish woman is believed to have made the call to forced marriage charity Freedom, who she saw on a TV documentary, after the Malaysian woman suffered a stroke. It is alleged that her "captors" would not call for medical assistance.
In letters to her neighbour, the 30-year-old woman, who claims she was adopted, called the couple she was living with "evil and racist", according to letters seen by the Mail.
"I suffer unspeakable torment, yet every bit is worth it, to keep my beloved safe," she wrote.
Lambeth social services will face tough questions now about how much they knew of the secretive collective, and which departments had been in contact with members.
The couple have released on bail after being questioned over false imprisonment and immigration offences.