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Saudi Princess Arrested for Human Trafficking in California

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First Posted: Jul 12, 2013 09:15 AM EDT
Alayban
Police were led to Alayban by an escaped servant who said that she believed she was the victim of human trafficking. (Photo : Irvine Police)

Apparently the spoils of being one of the wealthiest people in the world simply weren't enough. A woman who is believed to be a Saudi Arabian princess has recently been arrested after authorities claim she held a woman against her will at the princess' condominium in Irvine, Calif.

It all started when a 30-year-old Kenyan woman flagged down a bus in Santa Ana, Calif. and desperately told her story to one of the passengers that was on board. She stated that she had been held against her will and believed that she was a victim of human trafficking. 

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From there, authorities got the woman to lead them back to where she says she was detained, and found a most unlikely culprit. Saudi princess Meshael Alayban was arrested on one count of human trafficking. A judge released Alayban on bail only after she posted a whopping $5 million and agreed to be monitored by GPS until her trial.

"The police report confirms that there was no physical abuse, no physical restraint, and that the complaints were about hours worked and wages paid," stated Alayban's attorney, Paul Meyer. "We intend to fully investigate this matter, and expect that the truth will resolve it."

That story does not line up with the unnamed Kenyan woman's claims. She says that she had been hired in Kenya back in 2012. When she was flown out to Saudi Arabia that year, her passport was taken away and she was forced to work long hours for little pay and no hope of being able to escape.

"This is not a contract dispute," District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in court during a bail hearing for the Saudi princess on Wednesday. "This is holding someone captive against their will."

There were four other servant women that were in Alayban's condominium complex when authorities finally arrived. They all indicated that they would like to be free, though no charges have been filed yet stemming from their cases. There does not appear to be any signs of physical abuse on any of the women.

Alayban has been identified as one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud. Alayban's arraignment has been extended until Jul. 29, and if convicted, she could face up to 12 years in jail. 

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