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Human Trafficking in Scientology

February 5, 2011

Fascinating interview this week on Tom Smith’s Tampa area radio program, The Edge.  He interviewed a Hungarian man who had been on staff at the Flag Land Base, and gives an inside look at the Sea Org operation there – an operation that amounts to human trafficking.

It seems that in order to get their Sea Org recruitment stats up, they are sending recruitment missions to Eastern Europe, South America, places where there is not so much internet use as the US or Western Europe. They promise these recruits anything – they will be able to train for free, to go to OT VIII for free, they will get a three week vacation every year to see their family, free medical care and on and on. These recruits, stars in their eyes, arrive at Flag, where their passports are taken, they are confined to the Base, and discover the real truth, a life of crowded, debased dormitories, sleep deprivation, endless work, pressure to meet quotas, and constant threats if they dare to step out of line. Imagine being in a foreign country with no passport, no papers, no friends, no money. These people have nowhere to go, no one to talk to.

It is interesting to note that Scientology engages in a vigorous internal campaign to get rid of “external influences,” which is to say outside family members, friends, people on the street, newspapers, TV, radio, and blogs like this one that might shine a little light on what really goes on behind closed doors in the Church and cause Scientologists to “Doubt” their Church and their leaders.

Maybe, just maybe, Scientologists can take a little time to look up from their Church magazines or official websites or step outside their self-congratulatory events and take a peek at what’s really going on – specifically the evil that is done in the name of their Church.

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18 Comments
  1. Marta permalink
    February 5, 2011 9:13 pm

    Nice going, Jeff. Hard hitting program, as it should be.

  2. Synthia permalink
    February 5, 2011 9:15 pm

    I was thinking about this as I listened to the interview:

    “Imagine being in a foreign country with no passport, no papers, no friends, no money. These people have nowhere to go, no one to talk to.”

    How cruel. Warning bells should be sounding for people in this applied philosophy of supposed ever increasing greater conditions, abilities, and personal power. Is it logical that one should have to create the exact opposite of those aims in order to achieve them?

    The causalities are not worth the end result and they never, ever were.

  3. February 5, 2011 11:53 pm

    Again another thoughtful essay Jeff.

    Sorta reminds me of that line Goldie Hahn says in Private Benjamin.

    “I thought this was the Army with the condos.”

    Only worse.

    Much worse!

    I was thinking that these guys take the act of extraordinary extradition (to use one of Miscavige’s pat superlatives that I used to get sick of hearing) to new levels!!!!!

    Man I’m sure the boys and girls at Langley are taking notes.

    I wonder if the Church of Scientology will be investing in a Gulf Stream somewhere up the line with obscure tail numbers or continue using Tom’s 747?

    Stay tuned.

    Seriously though.

    This is a pathetically debased activity for a Government Approved “Religious” activity.

    The thing is that Miscavige and his crew have been falsely flying the flag of “religion” to justify even the most heinous acts.

    And wrapping themselves in the Bill of Rights and the Flag just like any other scoundrel who circumvents the laws of the land or even common decency.

  4. Hal permalink
    February 6, 2011 12:39 am

    What if it was made illegal to seize someone’s passport? Would that be either possible or capable of effecting change?

    Are there ever legitimate reasons to confiscate someone’s passport? Interested in hearing from someone who actually knows somethin’.

    • February 6, 2011 1:58 am

      Actually is far as I know a person upon receiving their passport is instructed never to turn it over to anyone other than an immigration official, consular officer or law enforcement and only by a judicial order in the latter case.

      I don’t know what the legal implications are for the “Church” and whether they are in violation of international treaties or not by holding onto passports.

      However aside from the legalities involved the practice is just plain wrong.

      Also it could be considered enforced confinement if the person is not allowed to leave because they are holding his or her passport.

      Not to mention the possibility of some unscrupulous individual selling these passports on the “black market” where Intel Agencies and other criminals (I mean the only difference between a spy and a common criminal is that his government sanctions his crimes) particularly forgers will pay top dollar for them.

  5. Brenda permalink
    February 6, 2011 4:12 am

    That your website exists is not only a testament to your humanity, but also to Scientology’s impotence. You, Marty, Amy and many others are keeping OSA busy as they struggle to find a way to keep you quiet, while the rest of us are more or less free to blog and protest. It doesn’t have to be a knockout blow, but we can bring down this criminal cult through countless small actions that warn people away, open up the eyes of those inside, and slowly drain the cult of it’s finances and members.

    Thank you so much for keeping us inspired.

  6. February 6, 2011 1:17 pm

    An EASY and FAST way to shut this down is via the U.S. Embassys. They are all linked and feed each other information. No visas = no human trafficing out of these foreign countries. I encourage people to write specifics of what they know and have experienced to the U.S. Embassy in their country. Specifically to the department that handles visas. Provide your contact information in case they want to interview you.

    • February 6, 2011 1:40 pm

      As an added note, here are some things the Embassy would be interested in:

      1. The fact that the passport is taken away and locked up when the person arrives.
      2. Any example of a minor failing to continue their education.
      3. A minor being seperated from their family once they arrive.
      4. Violation of child labor laws.
      5. Efforts to manipulate the seperation of families and married couples.
      6. Differculty in leaving. Example the added time of weeks or months while being guarded.
      7. Verbal and/or physical abuse.
      8. Arranged and false marriages for immigration purposes.
      9. Controled and cut communication lines with the outside world (family, friends, etc).
      10. False promises made just to get one to commit and get used as slave labor.

      • Graviora_Manent permalink
        February 6, 2011 11:49 pm

        Mat et al,

        You made some valid points regarding the misuse of an R-1, religious worker visa. The visa is issued under the assumption that the person will be voluntarily working for a religious organization as a minister of some sort, will be cared and provided for by the same institution and will not be a burden to the US. It is not a permanent immigration visa, which means that it, just like any type of visas, has to be renewed and can be revoked by the USG for any violations of the regulations. Violations include: fraud in application process, misrepresentation of the person’s responsibilities, misuse of the visa’s purpose (tourist visa used to gain entry to work or study, etc) in the US, unauthorized use of gov’t funded healthcare and, obviously, any felonies committed. Points 6, 10, and especially ,8 are grounds for revocation of the person’s R-1 status, and moreover the Church can lose its right to apply for R-1’s if its knowledge of or participation in the above violations is proven.

        Furthermore, R-1’s cannot be issued to minors. Therefore, a different type of visa, such as an F-1, B-1 etc, must be gotten for any minor recruited. Or an R-2 is issued if the legal guardians are issued a R-1’s. In this case, the minor must attend school and cannot work more than a certain amount of hours. Another violation here.

        Clearly, fraud is committed when a student visa or a tourist visa is applied for in lieu of the R-1 for religious reasons. B-1 prohibits any form of employment under any circumstances. F-1 visa requires the holder to be a full time student. If a recruit to be working for the Church, holding a B-1 or F-1, it is a serious violation of the immigration laws set forth by the US Fed Gov’t that would result in person being banned from entry temporarily or permanently depending on the violation.

        There are many more violations committed by the Church and the recruits in order to acquire a visa and enter the country. I am sure I managed to give you a general idea of what to look for and what to mention to the Consular Offices abroad if and when you make a complaint.

  7. Maxwell Smart permalink
    February 6, 2011 1:17 pm

    The year was 1980. I was promised by a Sea Oeg recruiter to go directly onto the TTC (Techincal Training Corps) fulltime and train up to a high level auditor, if I were to drop out of a major university immediately, without telling my parents. Well, I did after a little bit of Sea Org coercion. Three months later I told my non-Scientology parents about dropping out of college to go work for the Church of Scientology, what was generally regarded as a cult way before Miscavige ever came into power. Needless to say, my “wog” parents weren’t too happy. I finished the EPF in three months and was posted in HCO in my org. It quickly became obvious that there was no TTC in my future, and there never had been. Because I had no major drug or “out 2D” history I was considered a “clean being” and was postable in HCO. Ironically, I found out that a lot of the auditors and “tech terminals” had some of the most sordid pasts imaginable. Anyhow, the Sea Org recruiter had totally lied to me about what I was walking into. I felt betrayed, even though I had signed a Sea Org contract which stated no prior “agreements” were binding. Well, I always felt a person’s word was more important and more binding than what was written anyways (in direct contradiction to LRH’s policy of “if it’s not written, it’s not true”). The org I worked for at the time (ASHO) had gotten so desparate for “new bodies” that they were recruiting “degraded beings” (homeless people) directly out of the Greyhound station in downtown Los Angeles. A few months after finishing the EPF, I “blew”, arranging for my dad to drive to LA and pick me up at the “Horseshoe” of the main building at “Big Blue”. I was thirty pounds lighter from when I had joined the Sea Org after having been on a diet of rice and beans for several months (I was already thin when I joined the SO). My hair was also falling out in patches due to malnutrition, and I was only 20 years old. Fortunately, nobody stopped me from leaving on my final day (perhaps because they didn’t want a “legal flap”). As my dad and I were heading west on Sunset towards total freedom, I thanked him three times within 10 minutes, and I don’t even remember saying this to him. A few months after blowing, I got a call from the Commanding Officer at ASHO Foundation, Rene Norton. Somehow she found out that I had saved up a thousand dollars from working a “wog” job. She told me she was “proud” of me, in one of the most phony displays of flattery I had ever received. After having been lied to, and after working for six months in the Sea Org for little pay ($20/week) and a beans and rice diet, I felt little obligation to pay ASHO any money whatsoever for the minimal staff training I had received, and I felt most of it was useless outside of a Scientology organization anways. Although I probably should have told her off at the time, I did communicate that I wasn’t going to “flow” her any money anytime soon. And my Sea Org story is probably pretty mild compared to some real Sea Org horror stories I’ve heard about.

    • lunamoth permalink
      February 6, 2011 11:06 pm

      Maxwell Smart, your story may not be the worst horror story out there, but it happened to you, and it happened to your family. And it’s horrible enough.

      Thank you for sharing it with us here. It brought tears to my eyes when you described your physical condition upon leaving, and that you thanked your father three times within 10 minutes that day. I can’t imagine what he must have been feeling at that time. I imagine that anger at those who had abused you and lied to you must have been part of it, but overwhelming gratitude ( to have you back, and that you were smart enough to get out of that hellish situation) was probably the dominant emotion. Had you been my child, it certainly would have been.

      lunamoth

  8. Skydog permalink
    February 6, 2011 1:55 pm

    I would like to welcome Lazlo to this country and wish him success and happiness. His honesty rang through and I hope the federal authorities are listening.

  9. Tony DePhillips permalink
    February 6, 2011 2:47 pm

    Thanks Jeff.
    You shining the light on these cockroaches will eventually make them scatter. I am really shocked and dismayed that this kind of thing can go on so long without government intervention. Now I know how they felt in the 1960’s fighting segregation. You would think that people would just do the right thing. Sometimes you have to fight for the right thing.
    Thanks for fighting Jeff!

  10. Idle Org permalink
    February 6, 2011 6:33 pm

    If we keep communicating, the wheels of justice may just be able to pull up out of their own misdeeds and false purposes long enough to finally take action against the church.

    Everybody has to wake up at some point, I guess.

    Thanks Jeff for continuing to communicate.

  11. Cowboy Poet permalink
    February 6, 2011 6:44 pm

    Parasitic opportunists is a flattering term for people who would so mislead the vulnerable or unprotected.
    Scumbags is more accurate.
    And all under the cover of “religious cloaking”.

  12. February 6, 2011 9:03 pm

    Someone can put this phone number up, all by itself, on the nearest BILLBOARD to the Hacienda berthing building, or on one of the streets that the buses travel on:

    Want out?

    Call Toll Free

    866-XSEAORG

    I’ll give on the spot advice. With numerous ex Sea Org in the Clearwater/Tampa/St. Pete area, I’ll network whoever calls to local help that’ll help people get started again.

    Anyone in the CW area willing to put people who escape, up, for a few nights or a week, until they are gotten on in life, let me know, I’ll add you to the list of people already willing to do so.

    Chuck Beatty
    Pittsburgh, ex Sea Org 1975-2003
    412-260-1170

    And, anyone wishing to help on the 866-XSEAORG toll free phone line, like anyone willing to answer the line, since right now, it just has a message answer, but anyone wanting to “take over” the answering duties, call me also.

  13. February 8, 2011 11:04 am

    Human Trafficking is an global issue here are some stories which talks about this issues and provides a compelling look into this dark, inhuman, and exploitative world and shows how each one of us can help to prevent modern-day slavery.

    http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/479

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