An Indonesian woman brought to Colorado by a Saudi Arabian couple was allegedly paid less than the equivalent of $2 a day over four years to cook, clean and care for their five children and was sometimes loaned out to work for four other families when her host family traveled.
According to court documents released Monday, the woman told investigators that she worked seven days a week with no regular days off from 2000 to 2004 while living with the family of Homaidan Al-Turki in suburban Aurora.The rest of the time she was confined to an unheated basement where she slept on a mattress on the concrete floor and was allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulted by Al-Turki, according to an affidavit from FBI special agent Jon Bibik. Al-Turki allegedly told her she would be arrested by immigration authorities if she tried to leave, the document said. Al-Turki, 36, and his wife, Sarah Khonaizan, 35, were indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges of forced labor, document servitude and harboring an illegal immigrant. Al-Turki also faces state charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment and extortion, as well as 12 charges of sexual assault. They could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.Khonaizan was scheduled to be advised of the federal charges pending against her before a U.S. magistrate Tuesday afternoon. She was expected to bond out, 7NEWS reported. The female employoee, whose name is being withheld by The Associated Press because she's an alleged sexual assault victim, was 17 when she was hired by Khonaizan through an employment agency to work at her home in Saudi Arabia in 1999 while Al-Turki was studying in the United States.Khonaizan and her children left three months later to join Al-Turki and the woman worked for Khonaizan's relatives for a year before being able to leave Saudi Arabia and join them in Colorado.The woman told investigators the relatives never paid her and that once in the United States she was compensated only $3,300 over four years -- $1,000 wire transferred to her family in Indonesia in 2003, $500 cash in August 2004 and $1,800 for dental care.The woman told investigators that she didn't have possession of her passport after being hired. Bibik said that her passport and United States visa, which both expired in 2001, were found in a briefcase in a closet in the couple's bedroom.The woman said she asked Khonaizan several times if she could quit and return to Indonesia but she was told that it would cost $10,000 to travel there and that she hadn't earned that much.Khonaizan also allegedly told the woman that there were problems with her passport and she would get into trouble with the law if she tried to leave.The woman eventually told two of Al-Turki's friends that she stayed with some of what was happening in the home and one of them, Michelle Hernandez, became suspicious.Immigration authorities searched Al-Turki's home in November on suspicion of harboring an illegal alien, and the woman was detained when authorities found her expired passport and visa.After the woman's release in February, the woman lived with Hernandez, who learned of the alleged sexual assault and offered to help press charges.
Sarah Khonaizan and her husband Homaidan Al-Turki face federal and state charges.
- June 10, 2005: Aurora Couple Indicted On Enslavement Charges