4 Filipina maids of arrested Saudi princess in US safe

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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.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Hey_Dudes

    We are seeing our very own telenovela here in California. Naturally, she (princess) being a Saudi princess, she will be set free in the end once the Saudi embassy claim she is holder of a diplomatic passport and off to Saudi before anyone can say ‘cheeze’. As for these 4 former OFW aka alleged slaves of their employers, let me just congratulate these for ” SOON TO BE SSS pensionadas and automatic U.S. citizens. Aba’y kapag ganito ang kalakaran, marami sigurong papayag maging slaves kung ang reward ay mas mahalaga sa ginto!

    • ZestyZombie

      Hmmmm,

  • pogiako

    people from the holy land.,,

  • OFW Franklin

    Most of my kababayan had no concept about held against their will because we treat our right lightly compared to the American. They fought their civil war and many had died promoting the right and freedom that end slavery. So it is understandable that if someone who is rich and powerful held anybody against their will. She or he will be persecuted by the US government like the case of Saudi princess.

  • boybakal

    Di na nakapaghintay ng Immigration Reform…for sure mabibigyan ng work permit itong mga maid.

  • randyaltarejos

    Matalino man ang matsing, me paglalangan din. This Saudi princess didn’t use her brain, if she has any. In the U.S., human trafficking and slavery are a no-no. Perhaps, she had hallucinations that she was still in her kingdom?

  • boybakal

    This is not new.
    How many people have been victimized by these kind of scheme.
    Philippine Ambassador was a victim of Flipina maid, a VP of Disney co, Hotel in Florida was victim of Filipino workers.

    As always the victims are employers after helping these people.

    • Maj Gen Luo Yuan

      Then why did the aggrieved “victims” who happened to be the employers of the so-called “schemers” not report them to US authorities?

      • jerseydave

        Because their whole world was that house and the employer had total control there, not to mention they have families.

      • Maj Gen Luo Yuan

        Same with the so called “schemers” as pointed out by boybakal above. These “schemers” have families too. Why jeopardize their family’s future by falsely accused the “victim” employer of human traffickers. Take note the news doesn’t say these Philippinos went on their own volition to report this to US authorities. The place was raided and these domestic workers went with the authorities voluntarily. The one who accused Alayban is the Nigerian helper.

      • ZestyZombie

        People, there re no schemers!!! There is a Kenyan maid accusing her Saudi employer of abuse and slavery. 4 Fil maids voluntarily went the authorities wanting to be freed but no charges against the princess are made as of yet. Please let’s get the story right first before we start arguing! Really Hilarious

    • xtropian

      Did you read the article or just the headline? I’m asking because I missed the “of” at first and thought the maids were arrested and the Saudi princess was safe in the US. This is a case of human trafficking, not employees scamming their employer.

    • Rand Dorsey

      What is this bash-filipino-day? Where do you come up with this bukll hockey?

    • ZestyZombie

      You might want to re-read the article. I think you’re missing not just a point, but the entire story.

  • Peter Chang

    I remembered recently in Canada, a Filipino maid after pleading for the HK employers to bring her to Canada 2 years ago, now claims that her employers are engaged in human trafficking because she was paid HK minimum wage which Canada views as slave wages ( which she initially was willing to accept in return for the employers bringing her to Canada)..same story..Filipinos maid..biting the hand that feeds them and their family in Philippines…sad for the employers….

    • Rand Dorsey

      OMG, are you mentally deranged? You would blame the victims because they are brown-skinned people? Or are you on drugs?

    • Diepor

      Whatever the maid is asking its the employers responsibilety to follow canadian law, and pay salary according to the laws of the country. Its a crime to have people working for almost nothing and without a proper contract in the west.

  • Andy

    What a douche bag…Saudi whore….

  • atpcliff

    The maid who was enslaved is from Kenya, not the Philippines. I am glad someone is holding the wealthy accountable for their actions. They get away with WAY too much criminal and immoral behavior….behavior that is not tolerated from poor people.

  • mojo76

    if you respect people without prejudice of color,country,culture ,religion and their status in there life they will respect you in return……your kind of breeding tell everything….

  • etoyok

    What kind of person are you Mr.Judas Escariote aka jseesus ? Leave pinas or we will barbecue your dirty meat !

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