Santa Ana, CA — A Saudi Princess was arrested after she was accused of holding a domestic worker against her will at an Orange County condominium.
O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas identified 42-year-old Meshael Alayban as a Saudi princess who has been charged with one count of human trafficking. Alayban faces up 12 years in prison if convicted. She was not in court during her hearing Wednesday, and bail was set at $5 million. Alayban is also required to submit to GPS monitoring, and is banned from leaving Orange County without prior authorization.
According to the Huffington Post, Alayban — who is married to a Saudi prince — was arrested after a Kenyan woman carrying a suitcase flagged down a bus and told a passenger that she believed she was a victim of human trafficking. The passenger helped the woman contact police, who searched the Irvine condominium where Alayban and her family have been staying.
Authorities said that Alayban and her family traveled to the US in May with the victim and four women from the Philippines. Those women left the condo voluntarily with police when they arrived. Police chief Dave Maggard Jr. said the women told authorities they were interested in being free, but no charges have pressed against Alayban in connection with them.
The victim, who has not been identified, said that she was promised $1,600 a month, but only received $200 a month in wages. She also said that she was “working around the clock” looking after children, cleaning, and cooking.
Alayban’s attorney, Paul Meyer, said the case was a contractual dispute, not a human trafficking case, and that his client shouldn’t be assigned a ransom-like bail because she is rich.
“This is a domestic work hours dispute,” he said.
Rackauckas asked the judge either deny bail or set it at $20 million. He thought it was unlikely any amount would make Meshael Alayban show up for her hearing, and said that the Saudi consulate offered to pay the $1 million in bail that had been set after her arrest.
The Saudi princess is set to be arraigned in court Thursday.