Federal authorities have launched an investigation into a Saudi Arabian compound in Northern Virginia over suspicions its residents may be engaging in human trafficking.
Federal and local police responded to a call from a house in the D.C. suburb of McLean and found “two potential victims of trafficking” who hailed from the Philippines, Raw Story reported. One of the women tried to run.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the investigation could move sluggishly because of complications from diplomatic immunity rules. Saudi Arabia already has moved to dismiss the allegations. Embassy officials denied any knowledge of human trafficking at the home, which property records indicate is owned by the kingdom.
“We don’t know anything about that,” one Saudi Embassy spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “The report that we got is that the house belongs to the Saudi armed forces, like the military office.”
The suspicions, if proved true, wouldn’t be completely shocking.
Last year, the U.S. State Department reported that “Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and to a lesser extent, force prostitution.” The report also said that Saudi Arabia “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so,” Raw Story reported.