By Claire Ferris-Lay
Filipina says she felt she was 'working in a prison' during time with Emirati family
The former maid of an Emirati naval officer in the US has told a court she felt like she was working in a prison for a “master”, it was reported Tuesday.
Filipina Elizabeth Cabitla Ballesteros said she was barred from speaking to outsiders, was forced to work long hours and had her passport confiscated while working for Col. Arif Mohamed Saeed Mohamed Al-Ali in his Rhode Island home, Associated Press reported.
It is the second time Ballesteros has testified in court after the defense raised concerns about the accuracy of her previous testimony.
Ballesteros, who said she was not paid for her work, had previously told the court Al-Ali had forced her to sign a document falsely affirming she received 12 monthly payments of $1,600.
“I couldn’t take it anymore — my work and the way they were treating me," she said.
Al-Ali is accused of committed human trafficking offenses by bringing Ballesteros to the US, failing to pay her and confiscating her passport. He denies the allegations.
Al-Ali, a student at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, forced her to work seven days a week, often until midnight, without pay and refused to let her leave the house alone, the court was told in an arraignment hearing in April.
Al-Ali had brought the woman to the US in July 2010 to work as a household servant for himself, his wife and his five children.
The trial continues.