WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security is investigating a possible case of human trafficking at a Saudi Arabian diplomatic compound in McLean, Virginia, a DHS official confirmed to BuzzFeed on Wednesday.
"I can confirm that DHS did remove two potential trafficking victims this morning," said Brandon Montgomery, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "
The incident was first reported by the local NBC affiliate, which also reported that Fairfax County records show that the building is owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. NBC reports that "one woman reportedly tried to flee by squeezing through a gap in the front gate as it was closing."
"We don't know anything about that," said a spokesperson for the Saudi Embassy when reached by phone on Wednesday. "The report that we got is that the house belongs to the Saudi armed forces, like the military office."
No one answered the line for the Saudi defense attaché on Wednesday afternoon.
Montgomery said that DHS could not comment on who owned the house and that the agency uses a "victim-centric approach — the moment we get any reliable information that trafficking is happening, we will go in and rescue women from that, and then start an investigation. It's still early on."
He declined to give any more information about the women involved due to "privacy concerns." Montgomery also said that "other agencies" were involved, but declined to specify which agencies.
A spokesperson for the State Department said he was checking for more information on this.
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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