SANTA ANA, Calif. — Federal sex trafficking charges were announced against the leaders of a Philippines-based church, but the FBI believes there may be victims located in Kansas City.
Investigators are now asking anyone with information about a church known as the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name to contact them.
An indictment unsealed Thursday charged the founder of the Philippines-based church, along with eight others, of orchestrating a sex trafficking operation. Investigators claim the three defendants threatened girls as young as 12 with “eternal damnation” if they did not have sex with the church’s leader. Some members were also forced into sham marriages or to get fake student visas to stay in the U.S.
The group is accused of bringing church members to the U.S. using fake visas. Investigators claim the church forced the members to collect donations for a fake charity called Children’s Joy Foundation. They say the donations were used to finance the church and pay for the lifestyles of its leaders.
The indictment shows victims who were obedient were rewarded with “good food, luxurious hotel rooms, trips to tourist spots, and yearly cash payments that were based on performance.” Investigators said the costs were paid for by donations made to the Children’s Joy Foundation.
Documents say that all but three of the people are now in custody.
Anyone with information about the church is asked to call the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565. Individuals may also contact the FBI through its website.