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Saudi Princess Allegedly Kept Servant Against Her Will

A Saudi royal princess is accused of forcing a Kenyan woman to work as a domestic servant.


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Charges of human trafficking against a Saudi royal princess were dropped Friday after investigators could not find evidence to support the allegations.

Meshael Alayban

Meshael Alayban, 42 (credit: Los Angeles Times)

Meshael Alayban, 42, was arrested July 10 after being accused of holding a Kenyan woman against her will and forcing her to work as a domestic servant.

Alayban was scheduled to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court when charges were dropped.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told the judge there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case and told the judge they wanted the case thrown out.

Dismissing a case after further investigation was not unusual, according to Susan Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney.

“The defendant was a flight risk and we had the sufficient evidence to file a case at the time we did. It’s not unusual for us to get further evidence and dismiss the case at another point,” Schroeder said.

Paul Meyer and Jennifer Keller, attorneys for the princess, issued the following statement:

“No one was overworked or held against her will…the live-ins enjoyed full use of the pool, parks, spa and gym, as shown by the building’s closed circuit TV cameras and photos they posted to Facebook and elsewhere. There was no human trafficking here, the claims were a scam to gain permanent resident status in the United States.”

The charges against Alayban would have been punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Saudi royal princess did not appear in court Monday on human trafficking charges, drawing a rebuke from an Orange County judge who said “I expect her to be here” for future hearings.

Meshael Alayban

Meshael Alayban, 42 (credit: Los Angeles Times)

Meshael Alayban, 42, is charged with forcing a Kenyan woman to work as a domestic servant, toiling long hours for little pay.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston said he was concerned that the princess did not show up in court, but could not find anything in the court record to indicate that her presence for the hearing had been ordered.

Her arraignment — when she is expected to enter a plea — was pushed back to Sept. 20.

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IRVINE, Calif. (KTLA) — A woman described by Orange County authorities as a Saudi royal princess was arrested by Irvine police on suspicion of human trafficking.


Meshael Alayban, 42, was arrested by Irvine police on suspicion of human trafficking.

Meshael Alayban, 42, is accused of forcing a Kenyan woman to work as a domestic servant.

Prosecutors allege that Alayban took the woman’s passport and forced her to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for just $220 a month.

Alayban was taken into custody early Wednesday at her Irvine home in a gated community.

She was charged with one felony count of human trafficking.

The alleged victim left the home on Tuesday, boarded a bus and eventually contacted police, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said.

“She waved a bus down, got on the bus and started asking for police and saying she believed she was the victim of human trafficking,” he said.

“She had a pamphlet from the United States embassy describing human trafficking, so she seemed to know what that was.”

In addition to the Kenyan woman, officers found four other women whose travel documents had also allegedly been taken by Alayban, police said.

No charges have been filed in those cases, but the investigation was ongoing, authorities said.

Alayban was identified by prosecutors as one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

The Kenyan woman, who was not identified by authorities, began working for the family in Saudi Arabia in March 2012, officials said.

She was apparently told that she would work eight hours a day, five days a week.

She was supposed to be paid $1,600 a month, and was told her pay would increase after three months, authorities said.

Alayban allegedly took the woman’s passport when she arrived in Saudi Arabia.

She accompanied Alayban and her family when they came to Irvine in May, along with four other women from the Philippines working under similar contracts, police said.

The woman told detectives that she asked for her passport so she could leave, but Alayban refused to give it to her, authorities said.

She said that she was working for various family members living in four luxury apartments in a development off Jamboree Road, and was not allowed out without a family member present.

Alayban was being held on $5 million bail. Prosecutors had asked that she be held without bail, arguing that she was a flight risk.

A judge ordered Alayban to surrender her passport, not to travel outside Orange County and to wear a monitor if released.