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Saudi princess charged with human trafficking

By Amy Taxin

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:38 p.m. HST, Jul 11, 2013

SANTA ANA, Calif. » Suitcase in hand, a 30-year-old domestic worker from Kenya flagged down a bus in California and told a passenger she had been held against her will and believed she was a victim of human trafficking.

It wasn't long before a Saudi princess was under arrest.

Meshael Alayban, who prosecutors said is a wife of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, appeared today in an Orange County court, but her arraignment was delayed until July 29 at the request of her attorney.

She wore a jail jumpsuit and stood in a prisoner holding area in the courtroom.

The judge also issued a protective order barring her from communicating with the woman from Kenya, whose name was not released.

Alayban, 42, was charged Wednesday with human trafficking. She was arrested at an Irvine condominium that police searched after talking to the Kenyan woman.

The woman told authorities she had been hired in Kenya in 2012 and taken to Saudi Arabia, where her passport was immediately taken. She said she was forced to work excessive hours, was paid less than promised, and was not allowed to leave.

"This is not a contract dispute," District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in court during a bail hearing Wednesday. "This is holding someone captive against their will."

A judge set Alayban's bail at $5 million, ordered GPS monitoring and banned her from leaving the county without authorization.

Alayban's attorney, Paul Meyer, said the case was a contractual dispute and argued his client shouldn't be assigned a ransom-like bail solely because she was rich.

He said his client had been traveling to the U.S. since she was a child, owned properties here, and had given her word she would address the allegations.

"This is a domestic work-hours dispute," he said.

Rackauckas had 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. He said the Saudi consulate had already offered to cover the $1 million bail initially set after her arrest.

Authorities said the Kenyan woman had signed a two-year contract with an employment agency guaranteeing she would be paid $1,600 a month to work eight hours a day, five days a week. But starting in March 2012, she was forced to cook, clean and do other household chores for 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and was paid only $220 a month, prosecutors said.

She was allowed to have a passport only long enough to enter the U.S., prosecutors said.

Once here, she was allegedly forced to tend to at least eight people in four units in the same Irvine complex, washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and ironing.

Four other workers from the Philippines left the condominium voluntarily after authorities arrived. They told police they were interested in being free, said Irvine police chief David Maggard Jr.

No charges have been filed related to those women, and police said there were no signs any of the workers had been physically abused.

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Denominator wrote:
Who filed the W-2's?
on July 10,2013 | 02:47PM
primo1 wrote:
No W-2s - just "straight cash homie."
on July 10,2013 | 02:56PM
WOW! Some rice people got their nerve to do that. Put this princess in jail. How dare she do that.
on July 10,2013 | 03:00PM
allie wrote:
Saudi royal family is just outrageous. They were tied in to 9-11 bombers but mysteriously were let out of the country by their oil boy Bush.
on July 10,2013 | 03:01PM
kalai wrote:
on July 10,2013 | 03:14PM
false wrote:
The truth hurts.
on July 10,2013 | 06:59PM
HD36 wrote:
There's only two classes of people in Saudi Arabia; the ultra rich and the dirt poor. They are however our most valued ally. Not because they have oil, but because they have agreed to only sell oil in US dollars and invest any surplus in Treasury bonds. This lady will probably get off with a little pressure from the King.
on July 10,2013 | 04:51PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
HD ... all major commodities that are sold on world markets, including oil is priced in dollars because the dollar is the world's reserve currency.
on July 10,2013 | 08:21PM
false wrote:
The vowel store is still open.
on July 10,2013 | 08:56PM
Anonymous wrote:
That Orange County judge who granted her bail is a fool. Does anyone really think she's going to hang around to face the music? This one's a no-brainer and calls into question the soundness of this judge's other decisions. How do stupid people like this rise to this level? This proves, once again, that people get promoted to their highest level of incompetence.
on July 10,2013 | 06:24PM
false wrote:
The judge knows that if he does not rule a certain way he will never work in government again.
on July 10,2013 | 07:01PM
cojef wrote:
She owns property in Orange County, and it certainly must be pricey and in a nice neighborhood, plus she has status and qualifies for bail. Don't know if she is flight risks, though?? Must be nice to be able to bring along your own help all over the world and miss having to change diapers and to raise those brats?
on July 11,2013 | 07:25AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
She thinks they're still in Saudi Arabia or what? Some time in jail will be a real eye opener for her.
on July 10,2013 | 08:14PM
Anonymous wrote:
This type of thing happens all the time in North Daokta, hon!
on July 10,2013 | 10:17PM
pueouhane wrote:
Her wedding ring is worth more than five million. Five million is what her kids get for their tenth birthday. Her husband just made another five million while I was typing this comment.
on July 11,2013 | 03:43AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
on July 11,2013 | 11:17AM
Anonymous wrote:
Think the judge is controlled by the high muckamucks. Or he got paid off !
on July 11,2013 | 06:16AM
FWS wrote:
Aloun Farms got away with it, and so will she. She just has to pay off the victims. They don’t testify—case closed. That payoff process is probably already underway. I wouldn’t be surprised if this never appeared in the news again.
on July 11,2013 | 08:41AM
MexMe wrote:
I recently moved to another wealthy MIddle Eastern country and this is the standard for the culture. Almost all of the wealthy nationals hire domestic workers and pay them less than what this Kenya woman was promised. I have read of many who have also confiscated passports and not paid their staffs even though they are wealthy beyond what most of us can only imagine. The Philippine government demanded that their nationals make, as a minimum, no less than $800 per month (and most of the wealthy only pay the minimum). Furthermore, the domestics work seven days a week and get a paid flight home every two years (they then get 30 days vacation as well as two months pay as a bonus). This is the equivalent of indentured servitude which is sanctioned or ignored by the UN. The majority of the workers are from Third World nations (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, The Philippines, etc...) and almost all of the workers send money home to their families and thus, support their national economies. The workers can also be jailed, fined and/or deported for having sex, drinking alcohol, blaspheming Allah or breaking other Islamic laws even if they are not Muslims. It's time to sing, "God Bless America", folks.
on July 11,2013 | 09:13AM
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