Federal authorities investigate McLean home after allegations of human trafficking

May 2, 2013

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether two women who left a McLean house that reportedly is owned by Saudi Arabia were being held there in “domestic servitude,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said.

Agents from Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement received information about possible human trafficking at a home in the 6000 block of Orris Street, officials said.

The women, who are Philippine nationals, left the home with federal authorities early Wednesday, said Brandon Montgomery, a spokesman for DHS and ICE.

The women did not appear to be injured and did not suffer sexual abuse, Montgomery said. Investigators interviewed the women in an effort to determine whether they were being held illegally.

WRC-TV reported Wednesday that Fairfax County property records indicated the house is owned by Saudi Arabia. That report could not be independently confirmed.

The State Department’s Diplomatic Security staff “were in close collaboration” with DHS authorities as they investigated, spokesman Patrick Ventrell said at a news briefing Thursday. He declined to comment on the specific incident, but said State Department staffers advise law enforcement agencies about issues of diplomatic immunity.

Officials at the Saudi Embassy declined to comment.

Homeland Security also declined to release more details, but Montgomery said officials continue to investigate the situation.

Orris Street is a quiet, wooded lane of stately homes that ends in a cul-de-sac. Late Wednesday, no visible signs of any law enforcement investigation or activity were evident, and neighbors reported no knowledge of the investigation or problems.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.
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