Saudi Arabian princess charged with human trafficking after a domestic slave at her Orange County condo managed to escape
- A Saudi princess was charged on Wednesday in California with human trafficking for allegedly holding a domestic worker against her will
- Meshael Alayban, 42, has been charged with one count of human trafficking. If convicted, she faces up to 12 years in prison
- Her alleged victim, a 30-year-old Kenyan woman escaped and then flagged down a bus to seek help
By James Nye DailyMail PUBLISHED: 10 July 2013
Accused: This image provided by the Irvine Police Department shows Meshael Alayban, who was arrested July 9, 2013 in Irvine, California, for allegedly holding a domestic servant against her will
Bail has been set at $5 million for a Saudi Arabian princess after she was charged with holding a servant hostage against her will on Wednesday.
Meshael Alayban, 42, faces human trafficking charges and up to 12 years in prison after she allegedly held a 30-year-old Kenyan at her Orange County, California home after taking her passport from her.
Alayban was arrested after the Kenyan woman carrying a suitcase flagged down a bus after escaping and tearfully told a passenger that she was a human trafficking victim.
The passenger helped the lady contact police who traveled to Alayban’s home where they found another four servants from the Philippines in similar conditions after serving a search warrant on the condo where the princess, her husband and her family lived.
The 30-year-old woman was hired through an agency in Kenya in March 2012 and her passport was taken from her on arrival in Saudi Arabia by Alayban – who is married to a member of the ruling al-Saud family of Saudi Arabia, which has up to five thousand members.
Police say Alayban’s family traveled to the United States in May with the victim and four women from the Philippines.
In court details released today it is claimed that Alayban is one of the wives of Saudi Arabian Prince Abdul Rahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
Seriousness: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas speaks at an informal news conference after a hearing at the Santa Ana Courthouse in Santa Ana, California today after Meshael Alayban was charged
The Saudi Arabian consulate in Los Angeles has indicated they will pay the bail and Alayban has been ordered to wear a GPS tracking device as she is considered a flight risk.
‘This is not a contract dispute,’ Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told the court during a bail hearing on Wednesday afternoon. ‘This is holding someone captive against their will.’
‘This is a domestic work hours dispute,’ he said.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, (left), watches as Irvine Police Chief David Maggard speaks after a hearing at the Santa Ana Courthouse in Santa Ana, California, today
Rackauckas had originally asked the judge to deny bail for Alayban or set it at $20 million, saying it was unlikely any amount would guarantee a Saudi princess would show up in court.
The victim was working ‘around the clock’ for the family cooking, cleaning and caring for children, said Irvine police chief David Maggard Jr. She had been promised wages of $1,600 a month but was paid only about $200 a month, Rackauckas said.
The victims alleges that instead of her contracted work eight hours a day, five days a week, she instead was putting in 16 hour shifts, seven days a week on every conceivable household chore.
The Kenyan lady also said that she was working abroad to pay for her daughter’s medical bills.
Alayban allegedly only gave the passports to the five women at passport control and has had them under lock and key in a bank safe box since they arrived in the United States in May.
Arrest: Police in Orange County arrested Meshael Alayban at this condo in Irvine – where she has been staying with her family since May of this year
Investigations into each of the victims’ circumstances are ongoing. All five women are said to be in good health. No indications of physical abuse were found and were being assisted with finding housing at a shelter.
The other four women left the home voluntarily with police once authorities arrived. They told police they were interested in being free, Maggard said.
No charges have been filed in connection with their circumstances. Alayban is set to be arraigned in court on Thursday.
Powerful: Senior members of the Saudi royal family walk around Mecca – Meshael Alayban is married to a member of the ruling al-Saud family in the Middle Eastern nation
Distressed: The unidentified 30-year-old Kenyan woman hailed down a bus in Orange County and explained to a passenger her alleged imprisonment
‘The laws of our nation and California do not tolerate people who deprive or violate the liberty of another and obtain forced labor or services,’ District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in the statement.
‘If any person is being enslaved, he or she should contact law enforcement. Any victim of human trafficking will receive the benefit and protection of the laws of the United States and California.’
The Orange County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that she is facing up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2359893/Saudi-Arabian-princess-charged-human-trafficking-domestic-slave-Orange-County-condo-managed-escape.html#ixzz2YiCOAr2e
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