Scientology accused of child trafficking, forced labour of Australians

Scientology leader David Miscavige

Scientology chief David Miscavige

Whereas public members of Scientology can stay of their houses, members of “Orgs” work as indentured labour each on sea and on land, the lawsuit alleges. They accumulate giant money owed from their time within the Orgs, which is then held over them in the event that they ever depart.

Gawain Baxter was raised a Scientologist and in 1982, at only some weeks outdated, his household moved from Australia to Scientology’s Flag Base in Clearwater Florida. He turned a Cadet Org member at six whereas residing in a dormitory with 100 different youngsters.

By the age of 10 he noticed his mother and father for less than three hours per week and acquired little or no training whereas labouring 5 to 10 hours unpaid a day together with meals preparation, landscaping and rubbish elimination, he alleges.

He says he was recurrently verbally and bodily abused by adults related to Scientology and topic as a teen to specific questions on his sexual experiences by grownup Sea Org leaders.

Whereas residing on the Freewinds – which by no means docks in US ports or territorial waters – he had his passport confiscated and labored 16 to 24 hours a day in unsafe working circumstances, he alleges. That included repainting pipes, cleansing the ship decks and cleansing gas tanks with out security tools. He claims after working with blue asbestos and concrete mud he later coughed up blood.


“To this day, there are completely defenceless minors being mistreated by Scientology leadership. Just as I was, they are isolated from family and have no way to protect themselves,” Baxter mentioned in a press release. “Scientology must be held accountable for the human rights abuses and trauma it has inflicted without a shred of remorse.”

Baxter and co-plaintiff Laura Baxter, who married, have been later capable of depart Freewinds after they got here up with a plan to get pregnant to flee. They have been informed to terminate the being pregnant however refused and have been later let off the boat after weeks of punishment and isolation, the lawsuit alleges.

In 2004 Laura Baxter alleges she was punished and confined to a scorching engine room on the ship for 3 days, solely allowed to go away for brief intervals at a time, after being accused of “monopolising” the eye of a star throughout their birthday celebrations. Tom Cruise had a celebration for his forty second birthday on Freewinds in 2004.

The opposite plaintiff, Valeska Paris, who now lives in Australia, had mother and father who have been Sea Org members and was introduced up as a Scientologist. By six years outdated she was within the Cadet Org and over greater than a decade was sexually assaulted on a number of events as a minor, she claims.

She alleged the bodily and sexual abuse was commonplace within the Cadet Org, and she or he had witnessed an grownup Sea Org member masturbate on a boy’s mattress. She mentioned she was reprimanded for reporting the behaviour.

Paris alleged a senior Sea Org member rubbed his erect penis in opposition to her genitals. She mentioned she needed to relive her sexual assaults with grownup male interrogators and was punished for reporting them and compelled, on one event, to do the laundry of her alleged abuser.

Paris mentioned she was a private assistant to Miscavige and labored 16-hour days as a 15-year-old and was “sleep-deprived, poorly fed and constantly verbally abused by adult supervisors”.

She mentioned she turned suicidal and ultimately ended up doing pressured labour at a Scientology website in Australia and had her passport confiscated. Scientology has been accused of working a “penal colony” at a western Sydney website.


“Scientology is a system that is designed to perpetuate fear, and I continue to struggle with the trauma. No person – child or adult – should have to go through the daily abuse and manipulation I faced,” mentioned Paris.

The lawsuit describes how Org members should self-report deviant ideas and behavior throughout repeated interrogations, materials that’s then later used in opposition to them.

“Scientology cannot be allowed to continue exploiting the labour of its members and inflicting emotional and physical abuse without facing justice,” mentioned Ted Leopold, a lawyer for the plaintiffs from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.

A 2021 investigation by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald uncovered a number of the most detailed monetary info obtainable wherever on the earth on Scientology. It discovered it had shifted tens of tens of millions of {dollars} into Australia, which has develop into a global haven and makes tax-free income with minimal scrutiny.

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