He was an officer in the Saudi Royal Navy assigned to the strategic Saudi base of Jubail in the Persian Gulf. She was a single mom from Mindanao (in southern Philippines) who saw, like so many others, employment in Saudi Arabia as a route out of poverty.
When he picked her up at the Dammam International Airport in June, little did she know she was entering, not a brighter chapter of her life but a chamber of horrors from which she would be liberated only after six long months.
The tale of woe recounted by Lorena (not her real name) was one of several stories of rape and sexual abuse that were shared by domestic workers with members of a fact-finding team of the Committee on Overseas Workers' Affairs (COWA) of the Philippine House of Representatives.
The high incidence of rape and sexual abuse visited on the women we met in Philippine government-run shelters for runaway or rescued domestic workers in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Al Khobar most likely reflects a broader trend among Filipina domestics.
"Rape is common," said Fatimah (also an alias) who had been gang-raped in April 2009 by six Saudi teenagers. "The only difference is we escaped to tell our story while they're still imprisoned in their households."