Suspected slavery at diplomatic mansion
WTOP's Michelle Basch reports from McLean.
MCLEAN, Va. - Two domestic workers have been removed from a diplomatic mansion in McLean following accusations they were being held like slaves.
The gated compound on Orris Street is owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Armed Forces Office, according to real estate records.
A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tells WTOP agents responded to the home Tuesday night and removed the two possible victims of domestic servitude. Fairfax County police also were called in to help.
ICE says the investigation isn't complete and the workers were removed to protect their safety if in fact the accusations turn out to be true.
ICE spokesman Brandon Montgomery says if investigators get reasonable information or confirmation, they would "rescue the individuals and begin a full investigation, not let them linger in potential abuse."
There could be hundreds of people brought to this country and placed in involuntary servitude, essentially as slaves, either for domestic help or as a sex slave, Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf tells WTOP.
Wolf says that if the reports from the McLean home turn out to be true, then the State Department should get involved.
"We should tell those people they have to leave the country and I think the State Department ought to make it clear to the Saudi government that this must never happen again, period," Wolf says.
He recommends the action he'd like to see taken.
"Maybe the people involved ought to be deported from the country. They should be persona non grata," Wolf says.
It's not clear yet whether the two people removed from the home were victims of involuntary servitude. And there has been no comment from the Saudi Government.
A new Virginia law taking effect July 1 makes human trafficking a felony.
Vehicles with diplomatic license plates were seen coming and going from the compound Wednesday, but no one there would comment. A spokesperson for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press.
Frances Roller, who lives near the compound, says a defense attaché lives there.
WTOP's Michelle Basch, Hank Silverberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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