Brazilians funneled as "slaves" by US church, ex-members say - FOX Carolina 21

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

Posted: Updated:
Screen shot of the Word of Faith Fellowship church from AP video (Courtesy: AP) Screen shot of the Word of Faith Fellowship church from AP video (Courtesy: AP)
SPINDALE, N.C. (AP) -

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 secretive evangelical church and later toiling at businesses owned by senior ministers. Any deviation from 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 Latin America's largest nation to siphon a steady flow of young laborers who came on tourist and student visas to its 35-acre compound in rural Spindale.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly
Fox Carolina
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WHNS; Greenville, SC. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.