Lawsuit accuses Church of Scientology of holding children captive, forcing them into labor

The Church of Scientology is facing new allegations from former employees who say they were trafficked as children growing up in what some consider to be a celebrity cult. 

lawsuit filed last week in a Florida federal court alleges six counts of forced labor against Scientology leader David Miscavige and five Scientology entities in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

The Christian Post reached out to the Church of Scientology for comment on the lawsuit. A response was not received.

Gawain Baxter — who filed the complaint along with his wife, Laura, and Valeska Paris —  alleges he was 6 years old when he became a contractor for the Church of Scientology for “1 billion years.”

“From the ages of six to fourteen, Gawain was not permitted to attend any accredited public or private school,” according to the lawsuit. “Instead, schoolwork consisted of two to three hours per day of basic reading, writing, and math in a classroom of thirty other children, under the supervision of Linda Hilton, Cadet Coordinator’s spouse.”

The lawsuit alleges Scientology officials systematically trafficked Baxter and others through the organization’s oft-cited Sea Org workforce, using indoctrination and other methods to hobble them from both physical, financial and psychological perspectives. 

According to the lawsuit, Baxter performed manual labor as a boy at the church’s “Flag Base” in Clearwater, Florida. After he tried to call attention to what he described as abuse and intolerable living conditions, Baxter says he was sent to a ship in the Caribbeans known as Freewinds.

After receiving only basic reading, writing and math instruction, then 15-year-old Baxter and the other plaintiffs had their passports and IDs confiscated, the lawsuit alleges.

“This was not a peaceful or loving environment; instead, it was a world filled with abuse, violence, intimidation, and fear. [Scientology] considered Plaintiffs to be possessions, void of any rights, whose sole purpose was to serve [them],” the complaint reads.

Baxter claims that his parents placed him in a Cadet Org nursery in Clearwater, Florida, when he was 2 months old and that when he was 6, he became a member of Cadet Org. Baxter claims he was separated from his parents and forced to live in a dormitory, which was a repurposed Quality Inn, with over 100 other children. 

The complaint claims that children slept on bunk beds in crowded rooms. Baxter was reportedly allowed to visit his parents every evening at dinner initially. But when he turned 10, he allegedly could only visit his parents once per week but sometimes only once per month. 

After finishing daily schoolwork and “Scientology indoctrination,” the filing states that Baxter was “forced to provide five to ten hours a day of unpaid work at Flag Base, including food preparation, trash removal, landscaping, and clerical work.”