On of the arguments made in Saudi Arabia against women’s driving is that it would leave the women vulnerable to harassment. That’s likely true.
The problem, however, lies not with the victims of harassment, but with the perpetrators. Saudi males that cannot give unrelated women the same level of respect that they are to give their mothers and sisters are the problem, not the women they annoy. Saudi males do harass women, exemplified in the story running in all the Saudi papers to day about a group of men caught on video — which was promptly posted on YouTube — harassing a group of women at a mall in Dhahran.
Dhahran harassment incident sparks outrage
Jeddah/Dhahran: Abdullah Al-Bargi & Saeed Al-Asmar
A group of young women were repeatedly harassed Tuesday by men at a Dhahran mall, triggering an angry wave of reaction across the country against it.
The two-minute video shows a group of five young women wearing black abayas and headscarves being harassed by a countless number of young men at the Mall of Dhahran.
The men were making funny moves at their victims and verbally abusing them during the terrifying and intimidating chase to the parking lot of the mall. One woman tried to fight back by kicking one of her attackers after he had grabbed her hands in an attempt to hold her tight.
An op-ed piece in Arab News points the finger of blame accurately: on the miscreants who seem to believe that women are fair game, as in targets for their hunts:
And interesting analytical piece from Al Arabiya TV. Media analyst Sharif Nashashibi sees various Arab states on the verge of breaking up, or at least decentralizing, as a result of the political waves created by Arab Spring. From Yemen, Libya, and Iraq, through Syria and the Levant at large, centrifugal forces are pushing Arab states toward fragmentation.
Redrawing the map of the Arab world
The onset of the Arab Spring saw expressions and acts of solidarity throughout the region with those struggling to shake off decades of dictatorship.
This revived long-dormant, proud feelings of pan-Arabism. However, less than four years after protests first broke out in Tunisia, the very territorial integrity of certain states – particularly Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq – is being undermined by conflict and mistrust.
Will he; won’t he? Should he; shouldn’t he? When, if ever? The Saudi media is seized by the idea of US President Barack Obama’s approach to Syria.
It’s pretty clear that Saudi Arabia is down on the Syrian government. If nothing else, it views Bashar Al-Assad as a tool of the Iranians. It is urging the US to take action that will end up with Al-Assad being deposed and the Ba’ath Party chased out of power. It is not exactly clear, however, just what the Saudis see as a suitable replacement.
Writing in Asharq Alawsat, Mshari Al-Zaydi thinks that Obama is dithering and needs to bite the bullet. US action, he says, will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and will provide the tipping point the Syrian people need to help them reclaim their freedom. I’m not so sure about that.
Opinion: A Wake-Up Call
Obama continues to downplay the plans the US is making for strikes against Bashar Al-Assad’s troops, saying that they will be limited, and that it will neither be a full-scale war nor will it be intended to overthrow the regime. All that’s left for Obama to tell Bashar is the coordinates of the targeted sites so that they can be evacuated, and for Bashar and his brother Maher to go away on summer vacation until after the strike is over.
Obama is following a path he hates to travel. The worst news he ever heard from his men was that Assad’s troops have, in fact, used the forbidden chemical weapons, which means that he has crossed Obama’s red line. So now Obama has no option but to reinforce the credibility of his warning.
It is not true that all wars are waged for one reason only. Wars are waged for any number of reasons, such as geographic expansion, resources, religion, patriotism, and even for personal motives—leaving aside the wars sparked by moral embarrassment.
Obama is being pulled into a war the entire world can see he does not want to fight. We all know how Obama shunned American involvement in Syria for two years—despite the bloody nature of the Syrian state of affairs—and how he declined to take a real action on the ground.
In fact, this is a war to restore American credibility. It is also a war to prove the moral responsibility of the West, as much as it is about a shared norm in modern warfare: the abstention from using internationally forbidden weapons.
We have no idea about how serious will this war be. Perhaps all we will see is a handful of missiles, fired to no avail.
It is a source of sorrow that the Arabs have become addicted to repeating the anarchic conduct of denial. In Yemen, pro-Bashar demonstrations took place to express solidarity with the chemical killer, and a Yemeni delegation was even sent to Syria to support him. In Egypt, newspapers—even the sedate ones—are full of various reports critical of the idea of a military strike, and full of talk about conspiracy theories in a manner reminiscent of the Arab media following Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.
Asharq Alawsat also reports that the Saudi government is pushing the Arab League to take action against Syria. That’s not likely to happen, either. The Arab League is mostly a talk-shop. Brave and loud declarations may issue from it, but action is not one of its fortes.
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Arab League foreign ministers declared Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad responsible for the crisis in Syria, and condemned the chemical attack in Damascus in August, which the US says killed 1,400 people, following a meeting of the organization in Cairo on Sunday.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said it was not possible to wait until Assad killed more Syrians, adding that any move to help the Syrian people “should not be considered foreign intervention.” He further added that “any objection to international action against Assad will encourage the Syrian government.”
The Foreign Minister said Saudi Arabia shared with the Syrian people their demands for deterrent international action against the government. He condemned the Syrian government, which he said used chemical weapons “without mercy or compassion.”
Ahmad Al-Jarba, chairman of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, called on Arab foreign ministers to defend the Syrian people by supporting the possibility of military strikes by the US against the Assad government.
Jarba said: “Syria is living through a catastrophe, especially from the humanitarian point of view.” He accused the Assad government, which “invited armies to kill the unarmed people in the name of resistance and rejection,” adding, “I ask the Arab League to support a military strike against the Assad government.”
Jarba pointed out that there was sectarian incitement behind the suffering of the Syrian people, adding that “fighters from Iran and Hezbollah are killing Syrian people, and Iraqi militias are also taking part in killing our people, too.”
“We want you as Arabs to take a historic stance to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people,” adding “we ask that Russian arms and Iranian sectarian interference are confronted,” he continued. “I ask for the support and help of the Arabs to stop the regime and support the military strike, and what Syrians expect from you is for your stance to be much greater than any Western support.”
So what will happen in Syria? That’s anyone’s guess. No matter what the US does, it will be blamed — by different audiences — for over-reacting and under-reacting, for acting too late and for acting precipitously. It is being blamed for supporting jihadist groups in the opposition as well as not supporting the opposition sufficiently. The US is in and will remain in a lose-lose situation for the foreseeable future.
It might be nice to be able to say, “We’ll just sit this one out and let others deal with Syria,” but it’s not really possible to do that. Syria is a problem for the world, and not just the Arab world. It’s use of chemical weapons, if proved, sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent and cannot go unanswered. What answers the world thinks appropriate, though, is not at all clear. Why the US should have a clearer vision is its own curious question.
An editorial in Saudi Gazette laments that Arab expectations of a decisive blow against Syria undertaken by the US, UK, and others is not what the US, UK, and others are actually thinking about. Those countries, the writer says, are only considering punitive actions, not ones that will result in the ousting of the Al Assad regime.
There’s a good reason for that, actually, and it’s a pity that Arabs who would wish for more cannot see it. While ridding Syria of the Ba’athist government now helping to destroy the country might be a worthy end in itself, there’s a big question about what comes after. If a power vacuum results, the entire region loses. If extremist groups end up on top, the entire region loses, and what’s worse, those groups will now have access to chemical weapons and the advanced weapon systems now held by the Syrian military. I do not think that the Saudi government would sleep well at night knowing that Al-Qaeda has tons of Sarin gas at its disposal. Nor should Saudi citizenry.
A bit problem with this type of editorial, though, is that it seems to be of the “Let’s you and him fight!” type. Saudi Arabia is providing humanitarian support for displaced Syrians. It is also reported to have provided small arms to certain opposition groups. That’s good. But where is Saudi Arabia when it comes to providing armed forces to overthrow the Syrian government? Saudi Arabia has no “skin in the game”, as it were. Rooting from the sidelines for someone else to take action is pretty inexpensive, if not outright cheap.
In the situation of Syria, the US will lose if it does nothing; it will lose if it over-reaches; it will lose if it does something in between. So why, exactly, should the US be rushing in to take action when Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and the proximate neighbors of Syria are just acting like innocent bystanders?
The Arab world is expecting the United States to inflict serious military damage on the dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad, in retribution for its use of chemical weapons against its people. There is a clear expectation that the devastation that will be inflicted upon the Syrian military machine will permit the Free Syrian Army to finish the job that it has set about so heroically in two years of vicious struggle
Yet reading between the lines of the statements coming out of Washington and London and Paris, there is no clear commitment to do anything more than punish Assad for misbehavior. It is almost as if the airstrikes, when they come, will be little more than a slap on the wrist for a naughty dictator who has been using poison gas on his own people. The intent would seem to be that with a few of his choice military assets blown apart by Cruise missiles, Assad will behave himself and continue to fight his own people without recourse to deplorable, terroristic tactics, such as the use of poison gas.
If this is truly the analysis that is driving the plan for military intervention, then it is not only morally wrong but it also carries high risks of failure. A strictly limited, punitive military campaign that degrades only a small part of the Damascus dictatorship’s capacity to slaughter its own people is absolutely not what is required.
isn’t because there are more witches.
“The Atlantic” magazine takes a look at the aggressive stance the Saudi government takes when it comes to allegation of the black arts. The article helpfully puts in context with a discussion of how the ‘wahhabi’ sect of Islam arose during an 18th C. reformation of Islam, attempting to purge it of pagan practices that had crept into it over the centuries. It goes on to note that superstitions are fairly widespread in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia is a bit schizophrenic about it, though. Most talismans, for instance, are forbidden — which goes to explain why Christians are forbidden to wear crosses in public, but so too is the public wearing of the “Hand of Fatima” and other Islamic wards against magic. But wearing pieces of jewelry that contain Quranic verses is not rare, nor is it punished. Casting a curse or blessing on someone is illegal, except when it’s not. Clerics curse various countries and peoples and rarely receive criticism. It’s all in how it’s done… and, of course, where the ‘witch’ comes from.
The article is good, but could be much better. But then, it’d probably take a book, not just an article.
Saudi Arabia’s War on Witchcraft
A special unit of the religious police pursues magical crime aggressively, and the convicted face death sentences
The sorceress was naked.
The sight of her bare flesh startled the prudish officers of Saudi Arabia’s infamous religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), which had barged into her room in what was supposed to be a routine raid of a magical hideout in the western desert city of Madinah’s Al-Seeh neighborhood. They paused in shock, and to let her dress.
The woman — still unclothed — managed to slip out of the window of her apartment and flee. According to the 2006 account of the Saudi Okaz newspaper, which has been described as the Arabic equivalent of the New York Post, she “flew like a bird.” A frantic pursuit ensued. The unit found their suspect after she had fallen through the unsturdy roof of an adjacent house and onto the ground next to a bed of dozing children.
They covered her body, arrested her, and claimed to uncover key evidence indicating that witchcraft had indeed been practiced, including incense, talismans, and videos about magic. In the Al Arabiya report, a senior Islamic cleric lamented that the incident had occurred in a city of such sacred history. The prophet Muhammad is buried there, and it is considered the second most holy location in Islam, second to Mecca. The cleric didn’t doubt the details of the incident. “Some magicians may ride a broom and fly in the air with the help of the jinn [supernatural beings],” he said.
The fate of this sorceress is not readily apparent, but her plight is common. Judging from the punishments of others accused of practicing witchcraft in Saudi Arabia before and since, the consequences were almost certainly severe.
Arab News reports that Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers — here called the Cabinet — has taken sweeping action to contain domestic violence in the Kingdom. The change in laws now requires the police to take action when complaints are made, something vastly different from the hands-off approach of the past. Due to cultural factors and social values, what happened within a home was seen as off-limits to officials. Now, complaints must be taken seriously. Unstated penalties will be assessed on abusers and protection of complainants will be given. Those who complain will also be protected against publicity.
The move, while welcomed by human rights groups, does not go far enough, they say. The problem of guardianship still remains. Under Saudi law and custom, a woman’s guardian must accompany her in all official actions. Police are hesitant, too, to enter a home where there is no male guardian present. These are legitimate concerns, but fixing them is going to much more difficult than addressing criminal behavior.
KSA declares war on domestic abuse
JEDDAH: RIMA AL-MUKHTAR & ROB L. WAGNER
In a landmark decision, the Cabinet on Monday passed a law making it a crime to commit domestic abuse. The law also provides treatment and shelter to victims of violence.
For the first time, public and private sector workers have been encouraged to report abuse cases to law enforcement authorities or the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The legislation now holds law enforcement agencies accountable for investigating and prosecuting domestic cases. Previously, police treated violence against women and children as a private domestic matter with few legal consequences.
Abuse victims also will have access to psychological treatment, health care and shelter. “All civilian or military employees and all workers in the private sector who learn of a case of abuse — by virtue of their work — shall report the case to their employers when they know it,” the Cabinet said in a statement. “The employers shall report the case to the Ministry of Social Affairs or police when they know it.”
The Cabinet did not provide specifics of penalties for convictions of domestic violence.
Arab News runs an analytical piece from Agence France Presse that takes a look at ‘Arab Spring’ and what it has accomplished. It has accomplished the feat of turning a turbulent region into a chaotic one.
The article summarizes studies from a variety of European think-tanks, all of whom see little room for improvement in the situation over the short term. They seem to focus the blame on the politicians who have over-promised in their policies as well as the zero-sum attitudes toward politics in general. No one is willing to compromise and all positions are pushed to their extreme limits. The results are uniformly bad, with paralysis in government only the best outcome and bloody civil war the worst. What is uniformly lacking is any sense of tolerance to opinion or policy that differs from that held by the ruling parties.
Arab Spring: What went wrong?
Bloodbath in Egypt, civil war in Syria, stalemate in Tunisia: The Arab Spring has stoked turmoil because of a lack of maturity among the region’s new political class, analysts say.
When popular uprisings swept away long-standing dictators in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia in 2011, hopes were running high for a smooth transition and a fresh start.
But this year’s violence in Egypt and Tunisia, along with Syria’s bloody civil war, shows that the Arab world is still plagued by often deadly political unrest.
“Arab countries are entering a turbulent period of change, which will likely see even more domestic violence, polarization and regional competition,” said Emile Hokayem, Middle East analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Nearly 900 people, mostly supporters of ousted President Muhammad Mursi, have been killed in a crackdown across Egypt since Aug. 14 when security forces moved to clear two protest camps in Cairo. Unrest escalated further with a deadly attack by suspected militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula on Monday that killed 25 members of the security forces. The crisis has swept away most of the gains from the uprising against long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011, “especially the multi-party system with the entry of the Islamists into politics and the first democratic elections,” said Sophie Pommier, an expert on the Arab world at Sciences-Po University in Paris.
“Egypt is going to the wall. The actors are incapable of political compromise,” Pommier said. “If the Muslim Brotherhood is dissolved, they will cross a red line,” Pommier warned.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has come out calling for Saudis to stop their (recently acquired) custom of kissing hands to show respect (or fealty). This is not the first time the King has criticized the practice, but he’s now coming out as totally against it.
There is a Bedouin practice of kissing various body parts — forehead, nose, shoulders, etc. — to show respect, but Saudi Arabia isn’t a Bedouin country anymore. The practice, says the head of the Islamic Committee of the Shoura Council, should be reserved to parents and a few others, but only as an act of respect, not subservience.
The practice of hand-kissing returns to spark controversy in Saudi Arabia. Some people reject it as humiliating; others support it as an act of respect.
Among those who oppose this practice is Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
“I announce from where I stand my complete rejection of this matter and I ask everyone to do accordingly and refrain from kissing hands except for parents, honoring them,” the king said in a previous statement.
Recently Twitter users circulated photos of some preachers smiling while having their hands kissed.
In some regions of the kingdom traditional hand-kissing used to be common, but it is now mainly considered as disrespectful.
Some people say that only parents or elderly relatives should have their hands kissed, in a display of love and respect.
In an Op-Ed piece for Asharq Alawsat, Mohamed Al Rumaihi writes a useful reminder that just because you saw it in a film doesn’t necessarily make it so.
He’s commenting on the way supporters of both the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents in Egypt seem to believe that whatever is happening, it’s all due to the US. “The US support the Brotherhood!” cries one side; “The US supports the Army!” cries the other. Both believe, or seem to believe, that the US is omnipotent, that it can just make things happen, usually to the detriment of Arabs and/or Muslims.
If only! Were the US truly omnipotent, it would surely act to force things in directions that benefit it. It might try, but it also signally fails. Those failure ought to suggest that its power is actually rather more limited than imagined. Even if Hollywood films tend to show that Americans win in the end — a supposition of Al Rumaihi’s that I’m not quite prepared to accept — actual history, which is both knowable and should be known, ought to teach the American power is not unlimited, not always correctly applied even for American interests, and, just like any other human endeavor, is subject to human failings and flaws.
Hollywood is not a reliable teacher. Not only are its stories simplified to fit a format, but they are also written and directed to promote specific points of view. Sometimes these films intentionally distort what we know of history; sometimes they only ignore the importance of what they seek to portray. They are no panacea for ignorance, but instead often drive ignorance into stupidity.
Opinion: Thanks to Hollywood, Arabs have an inflated sense of US power
Mohamed Al Rumaihi
In the 1960s, Mutiny on the Bounty was screened in Egyptian cinemas. It was jokingly rumored that the then-president, Gamal Abel Nasser, told his PR manager to send a telegram in support of the rebels. The joke is not only cruel, but also bitter. It indirectly mocks Nasser’s readiness to support any “rebellion,” on the assumption that all rebels have experienced injustice.
It appears that history is repeating itself. The political forces in the Arab region have failed to realize that the main catalyst of the events has been internal, not external, and that outside players offer nothing more than verbal condemnation.
Both sides of the conflict in Egypt claim that the US supports the other side. There is no need to cite examples given that anyone overseeing the media, whether written or audiovisual, can hear and see the accusations both sides exchange.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s slogans and stances are clear. They not only condemn the US for siding with what they call the “Putschists,” they also adopt delusory slogans like “Down with America” and “Down with Israel.” At the same time, the Brotherhood praises the stance of Senator John McCain and his colleagues to the extent that they claim that US politicians are on the side of Mohamed Mursi.
In contrast, many media outlets and politicians in Egypt accuse the US of supporting and empowering the Brotherhood in Egypt, while still expecting them to establish friendly relations with Israel on the other. Nevertheless, wise viewers will realize that politicians twist facts in order to win supporters and tarnish the reputation of their rivals.
In addition to a power grid linking all the states in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the GCC is looking at the possibility of a water grid. This would connect the water systems in all the states to allow for ‘borrowing’ water resources to cover short-term shortages. The project currently under discussion envisions building a new series of desalination plants on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, both of which suggest that the efforts would be focused in Oman itself.
It’s not entirely clear why the plants would be built outside the Arabian/Persian Gulf, where the GCC states lie. It can’t be to put critical infrastructure outside the reach of Iranian military assets because it doesn’t. It might be, however, that the waters of the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea are less salty than the hyper-saline Persian/Arabian Gulf. Having less salt to begin with means there’s less salt to be removed, an economic benefit. Or, it could be an effort to spread some of the GCC wealth to Oman. While Oman is an oil producing country and a member of OPEC, its petroleum resources are far below those of most other members.
Riyadh, Asharq AL-Awsat—The Gulf states have started taking concrete steps to study the legal and regulatory aspects of a project to link the regional states’ water systems. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) intends to draw on experience from the electricity linkage project, which has reached the implementation and construction stages, at a time when the water project is still in its infancy.
Arab Gulf states are planning–starting in 2020–to make the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman the main water resources for the Gulf region in the event of a water shortage from the Arab Gulf. This is part of Arab Gulf aims to confront expected water shortages over the next few years.
Gulf sources, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the water linkage project will be made available in a public tender, with companies from outside the Gulf region also expected to bid.
The sources added that “the operations on the ground need great experience and large numbers of laborers and other human resources; therefore, there will be alliances between local and international companies to implement this project.”
Asharq Alawsat runs a somewhat peculiar essay (one of a three-part series) on the Arab novel in the West. This essay focuses on how Americans approach the topic. Part one is pan-European; part two, French.
I say peculiar because it is remarkably simplistic but also misses a very simple factor. The American expert consulted for the piece — Elliott Colla, from Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arabic Studies — argues that American isolationism plays a large role in the lack of appreciation for Arab novels. He throws in a bit of Marxist analysis of the American publishing business, and notes that Americans like to find themselves in foreign novels.
What he appears to miss entirely is the subject of accessibility. Perhaps as a result of isolationism, American readers have a hard time engaging in the utterly strange. When they do want that, there’re a genre, Science Fiction, that fills the void. To be dropped into a strange milieu, one with strange customs and behavior; one with unstated social, religious, and political conventions; one with a particular parsing of history, is to be cast adrift in a stormy sea. Those conventions are understood by the Arabic reader. They are opaque to the American reader. Arabic culture is very different from American culture and it takes some learning of it before one can begin to understand it, never mind enjoy reading about it.
That said, certain Arab writers have found some success in America. Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is accessible for the most part. His stories of the life of simple people in the warrens of Cairo are understandable by all. Tayib Saleh, the Sudanese author, again relied on universal simplicity — though a bit more culturally complex — to make his writing accessible. But when Arab novelists use their writings as roman à clef, disguised writing to implicate current politics, politicians, social and religious issue (as they so often do), they become impenetrable to those outside the culture. Again, Science Fiction is easier to get a handle on, even if the protagonists are alien beings from a different planet.
The American Reader Seeking the Arab “Other”
London, Asharq Al-Awsat—It is hardly a stretch to say that over the last dozen years, Americans have had a tense and complicated relationship with Arabs and the Middle East. This has undoubtedly impacted the availability and popularity of Arabic novels in the United States. But Elliott Colla, an associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at Georgetown University and translator of Arabic novels including Ibrahim Aslan’s The Heron, and Idris Ali’s Poor English, goes further. Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, he explains that Americans generally seek out literature that is written from an American viewpoint and that expresses particular narratives:
“The first thing to know about American readers is that for the most part, they are not looking at Arabic novels. American audiences are famous for their indifference toward literature that was not written in English. About 2 percent of the titles published in the US are translated from other languages. And only 2 percent of this tiny number come from Arabic. Which is to say, for every ten thousand books published in English, about four were translated from Arabic. Unlike so many other literary cultures—like Spanish or French or Arabic—where translated titles routinely make a major impact in terms of sensibility and style, Americans basically read only themselves. So, in this sense, Americans really are exceptional—not that isolation is something to brag about.
Yet another Saudi is arrested in the US under the laws that forbid trafficking in humans. This time, it’s the wife of a Saudi prince in Irvine, California, a city in Orange County, near Lost Angeles.
Meshael Alayban, wife of Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, is being held on a $5 million bond for essentially enslaving a Kenyan domestic servant — another servant may also be involved. Allegations include that the servant(s) had had her passport taken away, that she was working longer hours than specified in her contract, was earning only $10 per day, and was not permitted out of the home without a family member.
This is far from the first instance like this, of Saudis in the US treating servants the way they treat them in the Kingdom. It should not be surprising knowledge to learn that the US forbids this kind of treatment. It is amazing, though, that the message has not gotten through.
From KTLA TV:
Saudi Princess Charged With Human Trafficking
RVINE, Calif. (KTLA) — A woman whom Orange County authorities described as a Saudi royal princess was expected to be arraigned on Thursday for alleged human trafficking.
Meshael Alayban, 42, is accused of keeping a woman from Kenya as a domestic servant and holding her against her will.
Prosecutors allege that Alayban took the woman’s passport and forced her to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for just $220 a month.
Alayban was taken into custody early Wednesday at her Irvine home in a gated community.
She was charged with one felony count of human trafficking.
The alleged victim left the home on Tuesday, boarded a bus and eventually contacted police, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said.
“She waved a bus down, got on the bus and started asking for police and saying she believed she was the victim of human trafficking,” he said.
“She had a pamphlet from the United States embassy describing human trafficking, so she seemed to know what that was.”
NBC TV’s California operations has this as well: