Saudi Princess Allowed to Keep Slaves in her California Home
42-year-old Saudi princess, Mechael Alayban, held on a $5 million bond after her arrest in July for accusations of human trafficking, was released when a judge dismissed the case. A Kenyan woman accused Alayban of confiscating her passport and paying her $220 a month for service 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Authorities arrest Alayban after the Kenyan escaped from the apartment and flagged down a bus driver. The Kenyan woman claimed that the princess held her as a prisoner in Alayban’s apartment in suburban Irvine, California.
Alayban is the wife of of Saudi Prince Abdul’Rahman bin Nasser bin `Abdul`Aziz al Sa`ud, the grandson of King `Abd’ullah of Sa`udi `Arabia. The prince is also listed as Forbes’ seventh most powerful person. Being that slavery is sanctioned under Islam and is common especially with royal families, the Saudi consulate provided in July and Alayban was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device. This was the first case prosecuted in Orange County under California’s Proposition 35.
When police searched the California residence, they discovered 4 more women from the Philippines who were held captive as slaves. Alayban responded that it wasn’t so bad for the women because she allowed them to use her pool and Facebook, and argued that this wasn’t slavery since she paid them.
Defense lawyer Paul Meyer released a statement saying, “These women had cell phones, Internet, Facebook, and the family even bought cable in their native language for them,” to argue that the women couldn’t be considered slaves since they were treated so well. “They enjoyed full use of the spa, gym and pool, and were often dropped off to shop alone at neighborhood malls, all paid for by the family,” Meyer added.
After Friday’s hearing, District Attorney Rackauckas said, regarding the Kenyan woman, “I think she believed she was a victim. I don’t think she was lying to us. I think it was a misunderstanding and miscommunication,”.