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Saudi Princess Nabbed for Human Trafficking: Cops

Kenyan woman was 'held captive'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2013 3:00 AM CDT
Saudi Princess Nabbed for Human Trafficking: Cops
This image provided by the Irvine Police Department shows Meshael Alayban, who was arrested July 9, 2013 in Irvine, Calif., for allegedly holding a domestic servant against her will.   (AP Photo/Irvine Police Department)

(Newser) – A Saudi princess has been arrested after she allegedly held a Kenyan woman "captive against (her) will," requiring her to perform domestic duties some 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for just $220 a month, California prosecutors say. The Saudi woman, Meshael Alayban, 42, has been charged with human trafficking, officials say; conviction could land her in prison for up to 12 years, al-Jazeera reports. But Alayban's lawyer, who says she's a longtime traveler to the US and owns property here, calls the case "a domestic work hours dispute."

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The victim's two-year-contract said she'd work eight hours a day, five days a week, for $1,600 a month, prosecutors say. She was stripped of her passport and banned from going home to Kenya; she was brought to the US in May, authorities say. Earlier this week, she caught a bus and shared her story with a passenger, who got her in touch with police. Following a search of a property in Irvine, four other women also left with police. Alayban's bail has been set at $5 million. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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