French sects use sport and leisure clubs to lure customers

Paris, France, June 8, 1999
Die Welt by Tanja Kuchenbecker

Paris - Sect influence upon children is being scrutinized in France for the first time. The terrible bottom line: more and more children are falling victim to sects.

According to a report from an office of the Interior Ministry, it is estimated that about 40,000 children have been affected. A total of 66 sect movements were recorded, according to the 250 page investigation as reported by the French daily newspaper, "Le Parisen,", which lure children primarily with sport or leisure clubs or influence them to a large extent in private schools.

Sects are said to have influence on about 6,000 children in private schools. Frequently their parents do not have the slightest idea to whom they are entrusting their children. For instance it recently surfaced that the "Institut Aubert" school in Paris has connections to Scientology. A young woman complained that, as a sixteen year old, she had fallen into the hands of sect leader Fay Chemli in a private school and had been abused for years. The investigation by the Parisian Ministry of the Interior showed a growing importance in independent sects. Often they have fewer than 50 members and live under the domination of a guru. Quite frequently abuse and rapes have been found to occur in these groups.

The most significant role in the recruitment of children at this time is played by groups affiliated with Scientology. With short courses, sports, tutoring and child care, according to the report, the sect has already attracted 2,000 children. The Moon sect has reached 500 children through family organizations. Another 300 children belong to groups of the Raelian movement, which is allegedly involved with "nature and harmony."

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