Meshael Alayban (pictured), a Saudi Arabian princess, was charged on Wednesday with human trafficking for allegedly holding a Kenyan woman against her will at her Orange County, Calif., home by taking away her passport and forcing her to work around the clock, seven days a week for herself and family, according to the Daily Mail.
Alayban, who is one of the wives of Saudi Arabian Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, first reportedly met the unnamed Kenyan woman, whom prosecutors refer to as “Jane Doe,” in Saudi Arabia. The 30-year-old woman reportedly went to look for work at an employment agency in Kenya in order to help with the medical costs of her gravely ill 7-year-old daughter.
The woman reportedly agreed to take on a two-year stint as a domestic worker with Alayban’s family in Saudi. The contractual agreement stipulated that the woman would work five days a week, eight hours a day, and receive $1,600 a month in wages.
When the Kenyan woman arrived at the Alayban home, all bets were reportedly off: Her passport was allegedly confiscated and she was forced to work 16 or more hours per day and seven days a week for a mere $200 a month.
The 42-year-old Saudi princess allegedly only returned the passport to her domestic helper in order to transport her to the United States — along with four other Filipino women who shared her similar fate. According to court documents, when the Kenyan woman arrived on American shores last May, Alayban again, snatched away her passport so that she could not escape.
The Kenyan woman managed to escape from Alayban’s condo (pictured) on Tuesday and boarded a city bus, telling a passenger she had been held against her will. She also had a pamphlet with her from the U.S. State Department in Saudi Arabia that warned of human trafficking.
The bus passenger helped the Kenyan woman contact the Irvine police department, who then summoned federal agents.
When the feds arrived at Alayban’s residence, they found the four Filipino workers who also may have had their passports seized by the Saudi family. An investigation is under way in to whether others were involved in the alleged human trafficking scheme.
Watch news coverage of this incident here:
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According to investigators, all of the victims are in good health and there appeared to be no signs of physical abuse. All of the victims left Alayban’s home and told police they wanted to be “free.” All of the women will also receive assistance in finding housing at a shelter.
Meanwhile, Alayban who is set to be arraigned on Thursday, could be facing up to 12 years in prison if convicted.