Brazilians funneled as "slaves" by US church

Discussion in 'Cults in General' started by TheOriginalBigBlue, Jul 24, 2017.

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  1. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    Where this operation seems to differ from Scientology’s methods, it is unclear whether people were brought into the country only with student or tourist visas or if they also used religious visas which seem to be Scientology's visa of choice for bringing in foreign workers. They don’t appear to have been as sophisticated in the use of contracts, waivers and NDAs. People are used for non-church specific work. It seems Scientology has made an exception for this with TC but in general I think they try to keep it church specific.

    The main takeaway looks to be that the basic program is catching on.

    Brazilians funneled as "slaves" by US church, ex-members say


    When Andre Oliveira answered the call to leave his Word of Faith Fellowship congregation in Brazil to move to the mother church in North Carolina at the age of 18, his passport and money were confiscated by church leaders — for safekeeping, he said he was told.
    Trapped in a foreign land, he said he was forced to work 15 hours a day, usually for no pay, first cleaning warehouses for the evangelical church and later working at businesses owned by the sect's senior ministers. Any violation of the rules risked the wrath of church leaders, he said, ranging from beatings to shaming from the pulpit.
    An Associated Press investigation has found that Word of Faith Fellowship used its two church branches in Brazil to siphon a steady flow of young laborers who came on tourist and student visas to its 35-acre compound in rural Spindale. The Brazilians often spoke little English when they arrived and many had their passports seized.
    "They kept us as slaves," Oliveira told the AP. "How can you do that to people — claim you love them and then beat them in the name of God?"
    Under U.S. law, visitors on tourist visas are prohibited from performing work for which people normally would be compensated. Those on student visas are allowed some work, under circumstances that were not met at Word of Faith Fellowship, the AP found.
    Ana Albuquerque, 25, during an interview in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Albuquerque traveled to the Word of Faith Fellowship church in Spindale, N.C., from Brazil 11 times over the course of more than a decade, starting at age 5 with her parents. Over time, she said she witnessed so much screaming and shoving to "expunge devils" that she began to see the behavior as normal. Silvia Izquierdo
  2. cleared cannibal

    cleared cannibal Silver Meritorious Patron

  3. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    I do have to wonder - if a Church encourages fraud but doesn't actually participate in it and only receives tithes from congregation members who are benefiting from fraud, is the Church legally culpable?

    But it does sound like in this case they took an active role in the fraud by conspiring with other businesses to provide documentation that people had applied to them for work.

    It is hard to feel bad for the state and the feds when they are so eager to provide unemployment benefits without serious enforcement. If you are in the business of giving away money then we should expect stuff like this. Unfortunately, state unemployment funds are funded by a tax on employers and the more it is abused the more the rates go up and the less money employers have to actually hire people and the less funds are available for legitimate applicants.

    Now, how many ways does Scientology directly or indirectly benefit from public services and largess? Ironically, most Scientology staff probably fall under the poverty level and could legitimately benefit from public services but are kept too busy slaving away to use them or even know they exist and if anything I would expect that the Church would prefer to keep them from becoming involved with any government agencies as much as possible in order to avoid attracting attention to the substandard quality of life of it's employees.

    It would not surprise me if regges have become sophisticated about helping public members avail themselves of government benefits in order to make it possible for them to buy services or donate to the IAS or just to continue "making progress on their Bridge" but I expect Scientology would have it's act together enough to maintain enough arm's length to avoid legal entanglements. I also would expect that Scientology would have little interest in such "downstats" and that they would prefer to expend their valuable regging efforts on the more capable.
  4. cleared cannibal

    cleared cannibal Silver Meritorious Patron

    Yes they just get your credit lines increased. If you can't get credit I guess you are not able enough to be a Scn.

    I think I read a story about some dentist in FL that went bankrupt and the court ordered Scn to give a lot of the money he donated to creditors. Been a while but that is what I remember.
  5. Enthetan

    Enthetan Master of Disaster

    LRH hisself, in one of his HCOPL's, told staff members to "go on the dole" and work as volunteers at the org while collecting welfare.

    I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me if
    A) An organization promotes and encourages people to perform an illegal act, and​
    B) Experiences a financial benefit from the performance of that illegal act, then​
    C) they can and should be considered as being part of, and engaged in, an illegal conspiracy.​
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  6. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    I don't remember that HCOPL but I do remember this one:

    But welfare comes in many forms including waivers, credits and tax exemption none of which if provided for the Church's benefit would have been viewed as welfare by LRH i'm sure. It would have been considered rewarding an upstat.

    Anywho, if a reg tells you how to apply for unemployment insurance just as a general reference in the hypothetical chance that you get laid off with the accompanying disclaimer that they aren't suggesting that you do anything illegal - and you use that money for Church services, then how does the fed or state enforce that?

    If anything, the Church will have a specific written policy that prohibits regges from giving any advice that might motivate someone to do something illegal just so they can toss that reg under the bus as a violator of official Church policy when n if they get busted. Half the problem is the government's own eagerness to provide benefits without adequate fraud enforcement so maybe a 3rd rate outfit gets caught but if you run a tight operation then it is kind of a no brainer. This is the threat that Scientology is to government and society - it is sophisticated enough to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the system and to demonstrate to other groups how this is possible.
  7. Churchill

    Churchill Gold Meritorious Patron

  8. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    This does speak to the crux of the matter - we are pretty much on our own. There are too many places where agencies responsible for enforcement have an overarching conflict of interest in enforcing and this creates institutionalized fraud and exploitation. Let's face it, if we let foreign gangs and cartels operate here with impunity by the tens of thousands then why should we expect any meaningful enforcement on Scientology's use of religious visas?

    I think this war will have to be fought in the arena of public opinion and it will be won with attrition. They no longer have any effective public platform where they can risk exposure to challenging questions in an uncontrolled venue.

    The link in this paragraph didn’t work so I googled the quoted text and got this active link.

    "The point about many R-1 workers not receiving wages was picked up by an anti-Scientology website, whose reliability is unknown to me. It says in this connection: "Scientology should be singled out and investigated, but of course they will cry bigotry if this should happen. A tough and sad situation, and exactly why they have been getting away with human trafficking for so long."
  9. Churchill

    Churchill Gold Meritorious Patron

  10. exseaorgclocmoflagetc

    exseaorgclocmoflagetc Patron with Honors

    to enthetan: oh wow about the welfare..Ive been saying this fdor has to be wrong and illegal for their members to collect welfare(many do) and then go and work 80+ hours a week for free in the church. taxpayers foot the bill....hopital bills also with medicaid

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