Saudi Princess Accused Of Keeping Slaves In Irvine

A Saudi princess living in a fancy Irvine apartment complex has been charged with holding a Kenyan woman as a slave, and authorities said that they're investigating whether the four other women living with her might have also been held against their will.

Meshael Alayban, 42, of Irvine is one of the six wives of Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, a grandson of Saudi King Abdullah, authorities told City News Service. So far Alayban has been charged with one count of felony human trafficking under California's recent Proposition 35.

Authorities were tipped off by the alleged victim, a 30-year-old woman from Kenya who fled the defendant's condo on Tuesday and flagged down a passing bus. She had a suitcase and a copy of a State Department pamphlet on human trafficking. A passenger on the bus noticed she was in distress and helped her get in touch with police.

Authorities say the woman was hired by a Kenyan agency to cook, clean and do chores for Alayban's family in Saudi Arabia during March of last year. The alleged victim was looking for a job to help pay for the medical bills for her 7-year-old daughter. But when she arrived, her passport was confiscated and she was paid a fraction of the salary she was promised. She worked 16 hours each day with no days off for $220 each month, and she was not allowed to return to Kenya. Her contract stated she would be allowed to return after three months and that she would be paid $1,600 each month. That contract was torn to bits when she reported for duty.

There were four other women from the Phillipines whose passports were discovered in a bank safety deposit box, and authorities are investigating whether they may have also been held against their will. There is no sign that any of the women were physical abused.

Alayban was on vacation in Irvine. She was ordered to surrender her passport, and if she posts $5 million bail, she will have to wear a GPS device and is being ordered not to leave Orange County without permission.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told reporters, "It's been 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. It's disappointing to see (slavery) is in use here."

He encouraged other victims of human trafficking to come forward and vowed that law enforcement would be cooperative.