Bringing The World Home To You

© 2021 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Brazilians Detail Being Forced To Work Like ‘Slaves’ At Church In Western NC

This Wednesday, March 29, 2017 photo shows Ana Albuquerque, 25, during an interview in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Albuquerque traveled to the Word of Faith Fellowship church in Spindale, N.C., from Brazil 11 times over the course of more than a decade.
Silvia Izquierdo
/
Associated Press
This Wednesday, March 29, 2017 photo shows Ana Albuquerque, 25, during an interview in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Albuquerque traveled to the Word of Faith Fellowship church in Spindale, N.C., from Brazil 11 times over the course of more than a decade.

Over the course of two decades, church leaders of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina manipulated and abused congregants from Brazil, according to an investigation by the Associated Press. More than a dozen former members report being told to leave their family in Brazil to join the church in N.C. However, after they arrived they say they were forced into hard labor without pay and physically and emotionally abused.

Reports of abuse at Word of Faith Fellowship don’t end with Brazilian congregants. Earlier this year, the AP issued a report featuring the testimony of 43 former members who said people were regularly punched, slammed to the floor and thrown into walls as a way to cast demons out of victims. Authorities have attempted to investigate the church for its practices, but church leaders have reportedly obstructed such efforts.

Guest host Anita Rao talks with Holbrook Mohr, investigative reporter for the AP, about his reporting on the accusations of abuse against the Word of Faith Fellowship.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.