July 13, 2013
A Saudi princess has been charged in California with enslaving a Kenyan woman, forcing her to work in abusive conditions and holding her passport hostage, US authorities said Thursday.
Meshael Alayban, 42, one of six wives of a grandson of the Saudi King Abdullah, is accused of forcing the Kenyan woman to work 16 hour days, seven days a week, for a monthly salary of just $220.
The unnamed woman, 30, who sought overseas work to pay for her young daughter’s medical care, allegedly worked in Alayban’s palace in Saudi Arabia and then in her home in Irvine, California, southeast of Los Angeles.
Bail for Alayban, who was arrested on Wednesday, has been set at $5 million.
Prosecutors said the victim had signed a contract with an employment agency that promised her a salary of $1,600 a month for a 40-hour work week.
The princess was charged with “human trafficking of a Kenyan woman into the United States and forcing the victim to work as a domestic servant against her will,” the Orange County District Attorney said in a statement.
If Alayban posts bail, she will have to surrender her passport, wear a GPS tracking device and will be forbidden to leave the county without permission, the statement explained.
The Kenyan woman, who began working in Saudi Arabia in March 2012 and moved to the US with the Saudi family in May 2013, was “forced to work tending to at least eight people in four apartments,” prosecutors said.
She was given no breaks, no days off, and no chance to leave “except for a family outing so the victim could carry the family’s bags.”