KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Eight leaders of the United Nation of Islam are facing federal charges for forced labor toward minors and young adults and conspiracy to commit forced labor. But court records say the abuse didn’t end there.
The youngest alleged victim was eight years old.
Kaaba Majeed, 47; Yunus Rassoul, 36; James Staton, 59; Daniel Aubrey Jenkins, 40; Randolph Rodney Hadley, 46; Jacelyn Greenwell, 42; Etenia Kinard, 46; and Dana Peach, 57, have been indicted and will be arraigned at a later date in Kansas City, Kansas.
Royall Jenkins founded the UNOI in Maryland, but the religious movement later moved its headquarters to KCK. Jenkins led the incorporation until 2012 and is now deceased.
The federal indictment said the eight UNOI leaders indicted committed the crimes from 2000-2012.
Parents in UNOI sent their kids to a KCK school, which leaders ran without a license, in hopes they would receive a full education and life skills through working at a UNOI business.
But those parents didn’t know their kids would work long, physically demanding hours without pay, sometimes in lieu of school, and be sent to other businesses across the country, according to court records.
The UNOI, also known as the Value Creators and the Promise Keepers, opened and operated at least 10 businesses across the country that were staffed by unpaid workers. Some of those businesses included restaurants, bakeries and a gas station.
The indictment says the UNOI leaders would coerce children by separating them from their families, abusing them physically and verbally, withholding food and more.
A Google search on the UNOI in Kansas City, Kansas, will take you to a building off the 1600th block of N. 13th street. FOX4 learned it was once owned by the UNOI.
It has a new owner now, but the UNOI had citations from code enforcement. The most recent one was in 2018.
Court records say the eight defendants made the young members live in crowded conditions and follow a strict diet.
Although the victims were school-aged, prosecutors say the eight UNOI leaders did not provide them with an adequate or legitimate education.
The UNOI is accused of subjecting multiple minors — employed at UNOI-operated businesses in Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Ohio and elsewhere — to forced labor.
If convicted, the crimes carry the following penalties: forced labor could receive a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000; conspiracy to commit forced labor could receive a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.