A church based in Spindale, N.C with branches in Brazil is under investigation for violating U.S forced labor laws.
The Word of Faith Fellowship church is being accused of using its South American branch to import Brazilian youth,stripping them of their work and tourist visas to, according to the AP report, have a “steady stream of young laborers.”
One of them, just a teenager, explained that they were kept as slaves, being forced to work 15 hours on average, cleaning business owned by senior members of the church. All of the work done by the young Brazilians went uncompensated, essentially making them slaves.
Human traffickers fronting as religious organizations is nothing new, as ISIS has been known to do exactly this; brainwashing young men and boys into joining and then auctioning the boys off for labor.
But even though it may seem like the Word of Faith Fellowship church is following in ISIS footsteps, the church may have picked up the tactic before the extremist group’s inception.
The Associated Press investigation may be exposing decades of abuse at Word of Faith Fellowship, founded in 1979 by Jane Whaley, a former math teacher, and her husband, Sam.
If breaking the forced labor laws aren’t enough, let alone lacking empathy and morality while disguised as a foundation of such, the church is also being investigated for arranging marriages for visas, but not for the benefit of the imported laborers.
The church is being accused of arranging marriages for the young men when their work or tourists visas run up to avoid immigration laws.
As of now, no one has been arrested as the investigation is ongoing.