Brazilian prosecutors sue to shut church over forced labor

Source: Associated Press

By PETER PRENGAMAN, SARAH DiLORENZO and MITCH WEISS

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian labor prosecutors have filed suit to shut down a church and school with ties to the U.S.-based Word of Faith Fellowship, saying the church and its leaders “reduced people to a condition analogous to slavery.”

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Brazilian authorities opened multiple investigations after The Associated Press reported in July that leaders of Word of Faith Fellowship in rural Spindale, North Carolina, created a pipeline of young Brazilian congregants who told the AP they were brought to the U.S. and forced to work for little or no pay.

The focus of the civil suit is Ministerio Evangelico Comunidade Rhema, Word of Faith’s branch in the city of Franco da Rocha, along with that branch’s church-run school and its two ministers, Solange da Silva Granieri Oliveira and Juarez de Souza Oliveira.

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