Quantcast
Latest Stories

4 Filipina maids of arrested Saudi princess in US safe

By

Princess Meshael Alayban

SANTA ANA, California—Four Filipina domestic workers who voluntarily went with U.S. authorities during a raid early morning on July 10 that led to the arrest of their Saudi princess-employer are safe, according to the Orange Country district attorney.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas identified 42-year-old Meshael Alayban as a Saudi princess who was charged with one count of human trafficking. If convicted, she faces up to 12 years in prison.

The four Filipinas, whose names were not released by authorities pending investigation, are co-workers of a 30-year-old Kenyan national who escaped Tuesday from a plush condominium complex in Irvine.

“They (the Filipinas) are not in custody,” Orange County District Attorney spokesperson Farrah Emami told FilAm Star on Thursday.

“They are in a safe place and are doing well,” Emami said.

Authorities are investigating if the four Pinays were also exploited because their employer confiscated their passports, like their Kenyan colleague.

Trafficked

The Kenyan, when brought to the Irvine Police Department (IPD) by a responding motorist, said she was a victim of slavery and forced to work against her will. She identified her employer as Alayban, a frequent traveler to the U.S. and owner of several plush properties in California.

After hours of investigation and verification, the IPD alerted the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI). A joint operation was then conducted that led to the arrest of the 42 year-old princess.

All five are part of the Princess’ entourage of helpers. Police say Alayban’s family traveled to the United States in May with the victim and the four Pinay domestic workers.

The 30-year-old woman was hired in Kenya in 2012 and her passport was taken from her on arrival in Saudi Arabia. She was forced to work excessive hours and was paid less than she was promised and not allowed to leave, authorities said.

“This is not a contract dispute,” Rackauckas told the court during a bail hearing on Wednesday afternoon. “This is holding someone captive against their will.”

An Orange County judge set bail at $5 million for Alayban and required her to submit to GPS monitoring. He also banned her from leaving the county without prior authorization.

Alayban did not appear in court. Her attorney, Paul Meyer, said the case was a contractual dispute and argued his client should not be assigned a ransom-like bail solely because she was rich. He said she had been traveling to the United States 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.

Bail denial requested

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 $1 million in bail initially set after her arrest.

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.

Maggard said the Filipina workers left the home voluntarily with police once authorities arrived. They told police they were interested in being free, Maggard said.

Meanwhile, probe continues on the plight and situation of the four Filipina workers with no immediate information as to whether all four will also pursue charges against their employer.

The princess’ Thursday arraignment was reset for July 29.

“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,” said Rackauckas. ”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.”

HSI Special Agent-In-Charge Claude Arnold expressed similarly strong sentiments.

“In this country, it is not only unacceptable to hold people against their will, it is criminal.  This case should serve as an example to human trafficking victims that they can come to authorities without fear, so we can provide them with protection and bring those responsible to justice,” Arnold said.

Alayban is one of six wives of Saudi Arabian Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Domestic workers , labor abuse , Trafficking



To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize
  • Robot sub makes first complete search for plane
  • uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN
  • DPWH allots P1.2 trillion for PH roads
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Marketplace