Prosecutor: minors at risk of forced labor at Brazil church

Source: Associated Press

By SARAH DiLORENZO and PETER PRENGAMAN

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FRANCO DA ROCHA, Brazil (AP) — Minors remain at risk and are being forced to work against their will by a Brazilian church with ties to the U.S.-based Word of Faith Fellowship, a senior labor prosecutor said Wednesday after the initial hearing in a civil suit seeking the dissolution of the local church and the school it runs.

The Ministerio Evangelico Comunidade Rhema church in the city of Franco da Rocha has refused to cease practices that authorities have alleged amount to forced labor, said Catarina von Zuben, the national coordinator for prosecutors who work on combatting modern-day slavery in Brazil.

“This action aims to make these practices stop, to make this exploitation stop, particularly of minors, of children,” von Zuben told The Associated Press after the closed hearing.

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