France investigation

French prosecutors investigate claims that Saudi prince held maids in 'slavery'

City hall of Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb west of Paris where Saudi prince Faïsal Bin Turki Bin Abdallah Al Saud owns a luxurious apartment.
City hall of Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb west of Paris where Saudi prince Faïsal Bin Turki Bin Abdallah Al Saud owns a luxurious apartment. © Celette via Wikimedia commons

French prosecutors are investigating claims that a Saudi prince kept seven employees in slave-like conditions in an apartment he owned outside of Paris.

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The employees, most of them women from the Philippines, aged 38 to 51 years old, had been working as maids for prince Faisal Bin Turki Bin Abdallah Al Saud and his family for several years.

They had been recruited in Saudi Arabia, and came with the family on summer trips to France, where the prince he owns a luxurious apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy suburb bordering western Paris.

The prosecutors' office in the suburb city of Nanterre the women filed complaints of modern-day slavery in October 2019, after they escaped from the family.

The complaints were linked to an older one, and the office opened a human trafficking investigation into alleged abuse that occurred in 2008, 2013 and 2015.

They maids were allegedly paid the equivalent of 300 euros a month, and said they were forced to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anick Fougeroux, president of the aid group SOS Esclaves (Slaves), who met with the maids, told the Parisien newspaper that the prince’s four children were allowed to spit on the women, who had to lower their heads when they passed members of the family.

Some were required to sleep on the ground, and they were forced to eat only between tasks, so many went hungry.

Prosecutors heard testimony from the women a few weeks ago, but the prince has yet to be questioned since he is not currently in France, and it is unknown if he has diplomatic immunity.

(with AFP)

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