Tuesday, July 8, 2008


'Enslaved' women taken from Brussels hotel
BRUSSELS (UPI) -- Police in Brussels said they removed 17 women from a prestigious hotel on suspicion they were enslaved by an Arab royal family.

The women were taken when police officers and authorities from Belgium's Labor Audit Authority searched the luxury Conrad Hotel Tuesday, the Telegraph reported Thursday.

The hotel is well-known and many national officials chose to stay there during European Union summits, the newspaper said.

Officials said the raid came after a maid escaped from the hotel, where she was one of 20 servants caring for the widow of a royal figure from the United Arab Emirates.

The widow and her four daughters have been staying on the hotel's fourth floor for the past year, the Telegraph said.

Police said the women were from countries including the Philippines, Morocco, India, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

"We are convinced that these 17 girls are victims of people trafficking," an official said.

The servants said they were paid as little as $160 a month, were not allowed to leave the hotel for eight months and had to serve day and night.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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