Report: Brazilians Funneled as Slaves by U.S. Church

The World of Faith Fellowship congregation is accused of using its two church branches in Brazil to traffic young laborers to the United States, the AP reported Monday. Ex-members said they used tourist and student visas to come to the congregation’s compound in North Carolina. Upon arriving, they said their money and passports were taken from them under the guise of being for safekeeping. They were reportedly forced to work, often with no pay, and were physically and verbally assaulted. “They kept us as slaves,” said Andre Oliveira, who fled the church last year. “We were expendable. We meant nothing to them. Nothing. How can you do that to people—claim you love them and then beat them in the name of God?” Despite several complaints to the police and a legislative hearing in 2009, the church never faced any official censure.