The case was met with shock and outrage in Irvine, a city famous as a melting pot of many cultures. But experts and law enforcement officials said that in Saudi Arabia, the servant's working arrangement is fairly commonplace.
"The people who are hired as such think they're getting a benefit from it.... They're getting a roof over their head. They're getting fed," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of homeland security investigations in Los Angeles and southern Nevada. "On the face of it they think they're getting treated well. So they don't think of themselves as victims."
Khaled Abou El Fadl, a professor of Islamic law at UCLA, said servants are treated so poorly for so long, "that they become completely docile, the Saudi employer cannot imagine them as anyone who has free will, so they comfortably view them as part of the baggage and bring them to the U.S. or Europe."
Sometimes, however, servants use these trips as a chance to escape. "There have been warnings from the Saudi government to wealthy people not to bring their domestic servants when they travel to the U.S. or Europe, for precisely this reason," Abou El Fadl said...