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Nadezhda was a divorced 43-year-old mother of a 20-year-old college girl. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, she lost her job, her career, and found herself officially unemployed. To pay her bills she offered private services as a clinical cosmetologist. With certification she received during Soviet times, she was able to work as a pediatric nurse but in 1997, she would earn no more than 50 rubles per month working in a Government hospital. A friend of hers introduced her to the new St. Petersburg Church in 1994 and she studied at the Church offices and tutored others on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard until the end of 1997. To become a true Scientologist she was told would require her to go to the Flagship of the Church of Scientology located in Clearwater, Florida. This would be her first (and apparently last) trip to the USA.
Although she had no use of the English language, she accepted an invitation to work as a religious worker in Clearwater for one year. She was told that she would be given a two-week intensive English language course and then study for her certification as an auditor. Following her one-year education in Clearwater she would then return to Russia as a Scientologist with certification allowing her to offer auditing (treatments) to visitors to the Russian Center at the cost of $200 – $1000 per client. She considered this a very promising economic future.
Nadezhda was introduced to an American Scientologist in the fall of 1997 who was visiting Russia explicitly to find candidates to attend the Church’s school in Clearwater. Steven Dreyfus (his real name) told her that the US Flagship would take care of all visa paperwork and would even meet with US Consular officials to assure her visa approval. By US Immigration law, the consulates had a difficult time denying such invitations since the Church of Scientology was an officially recognized religion in the United States. Although the Church agreed to take care of the invitation, they told her that she would have to pay for her ticket to Miami where they would arrange to meet her and escort her to Clearwater. For a recently unemployed Soviet era worker she did not have the money available for such an expense but under pressure from Steven, she found the means to borrow the necessary funds. If she had purchased the tickets three weeks, in advance it would have been possible to purchase a roundtrip for approximately $675. Steven would not hear of waiting and told her she would have to leave the following week with him. Nadezhda bought the only available priced ticket she could find in such a short time. The cost was over $1500. As is required in applications for religious worker visas she was given a contract by the Church of Scientology, which said that during her visit to the United States she would receive free room and board along with a financial stipend of $50/week for her personal expenses, hygiene supplies and social expenses.
Once Nadezhda arrived at the Flagship compound, she was given a room in a luxury hotel on the grounds of the Church in Clearwater. Shortly after she checked in and changed her clothes she attended a grand welcome session where she and the other new arrivals were told they would need to sign several documents before their new lives could begin at the Church. One of the documents was a detailed contract that included a line, which she was required to initial, stating that she would commit herself to the Church for the remainder of her days on earth, also called the “billion year contract.” Since she had no money and no ability to communicate in English she was coerced to sign this life-long contract, since the alternative was to be dumped on the streets of America. Part of the contract further stipulated that during her stay at the Flagship she would need to make arrangements to sell her home in Russia since she would be working for the Church after receiving her certification and that the Church would provide her room and board for the rest of her life depending on where she would be sent to work. The proceeds from the sale of her house would be considered a personal donation to her new family, the Church of Scientology.
The new arrivals, once they completed all necessary forms were then told that the first two weeks of their time at the Flagship would be a military style boot camp initiation program. All arrivals were then immediately checked out of their rooms at the hotel and relocated to barracks located at the rear of the compound. Her barracks were only for women, which included a number of young girls, under the age of 18. The barracks had one bathroom that included a single shower. There were 25 occupants in her barracks.
At 5 AM, the following morning reveille was sounded and they were told to dress quickly and come out to formation, which took place with the men and young men from other barracks buildings. They had all been given prison camp style uniforms the night before that they would be wearing during this period of boot camp. As they formed up, they met their drill instructor Major Engelhard (his real name) who wore a very spiffy white military styled uniform. Nadezhda thought it looked like uniforms worn in the Russian Navy but was clearly of much finer quality. Major Engelhard read the rules of boot camp to all the new arrivals during formation. Although few of the people in formation were able to speak English, he only used English when speaking.
The rules included, but were not limited to: 5:30 AM reveille followed by formation at 6 AM. The standard workday started each morning at 6 a.m. and finished at 10 p.m. Recruits were given a maximum of 2 minutes to use the bathroom each day. A total allowance of 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening were granted to the residents of her dormitory for personal hygiene. In a second interview, Nadezhda clarified that she and other residents did not have opportunities to bathe daily due to their being delayed in their return to their barracks in the evening. The morning formations always included organized drilled exercise routines followed by chores.
Nadezhda asked Major Engelhard when they would receive their intensive two-week program in English and begin their training as Scientologists. She was told that it was not her right to ask questions and that she was not to speak unless spoken to.
The two-week boot camp extended to eight weeks. The chores given these recruits included many forms of janitorial, maintenance and other menial and occasional hard labor. The labor consisted of grounds keeping, industrial painting and carpentry, kitchen work, cleaning of rooms and toilets in the hotel and office buildings and extensive garment repair work for the clothes worn by officers of the Church. There did not appear to be any hired staff at the compound to do this work. She soon began to realize that she and her fellow recruits were brought to Clearwater to be low cost labor replacing a non-existent staff.
The daily formations and chores were done together by both the men/boys and women/girls. What is most important about the residents of the men’s barracks is that there were underage children not related to the other men in the barracks. Socializing was forbidden between members of the opposite sex, even if related to one another, as was the case with one of the boys and his mother.
During her 8-week ordeal, she befriended a Georgian woman named Araxia who was similar in age to Nadezhda. Araxia had come to Clearwater with her two children, a 14-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter and her sister. Her husband remained in Georgia. Her son was taken from her when she moved to the barracks the night before. He was forbidden to socialize with his mother during boot camp. Children were treated as adults in boot camp and were expected to complete all the same chores, regardless of age. According to an article entitled “Scientology’s Children” in the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, November 1991, “Scientologists believe children are adults in small bodies.”
An Attempt to Evade Her Captors
At the end of the 8th week, Nadezhda was given an opportunity to call home to her daughter. This was the second time she was allowed to call home. The first call took place the night she arrived. With no greater wish, than to escape the “hell” she found herself in, she told Major Engelhard that problems developed regarding the sale of her home, which required her immediate presence. Major Engelhard told her she would remain in the USA and that the Church would arrange to have someone go to Russia to take care of the problems. Once she explained that her home was part of a communal apartment, he understood that she would have to return herself. He became very agitated and more aggressive toward her after this moment.
The Military Tribunal
Before her departure from the compound, she had to appear in an elaborate military tribunal with five senior officers of the Church. She was drilled for more than 4 hours being reminded of her contractual obligations (the familiar Socratic method commonly used by Scientologists). Most importantly, she was told never to discuss any details of her visit to Clearwater with persons other than officers of the Church. She was repeatedly told that speaking to her own family was an act of disparaging the Church and considered the greatest moral sin.
Since her return airline ticket was scheduled for the following year, and could not be changed, the only option available was for the Church to pay for her return ticket home. Major Engelhard told her that she must work additional hours over a 3-week period to compensate the Church for the cost of her ticket. Her 16-hour workdays were now increased to 20 hours per day. The style of her work also intensified including scrubbing floors. During the conversation where Major Engelhard told her, she would need to work for three more weeks she attempted to remind Major Engelhard that according to her agreement with the Church, included with her R1 visa invitation, that she had earned $400. He told her that this was not enough to pay for her return ticket home and besides which the Church was not required to give her these moneys until she completed her 1-year agreement to work in Clearwater. Upon completion of this 3-week period, she was taken to the Miami International Airport and placed on a plane to Budapest, Hungary. She was given $100 cash to use to purchase a ticket from Budapest to St. Petersburg. Since the cost of the ticket was $100, she was given no extra money to pay for expenses she would have for the layover in Budapest. She was fortunate to meet a friendly Russian Hungarian businessman on the flight to Budapest who offered her his assistance once they arrived in Budapest.
Her daughter met her at the airport upon her arrival back in Russia. She was 25 pounds lighter than she had been when she left Russia 11 weeks earlier. According to interviews with her daughter, she claimed that her mother looked almost skeletal and that most of her body fat had disappeared. Nadezhda was a former member of the Russian Olympic bobsled team and always kept in good physical shape. At 5’4” in height, she weighed less than 100 pounds when she returned to Russia in April 1998.
In July 1998, Nadezhda paid a visit to the US Consulate Commercial Section, which was then located within the Grand Europe Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg. The head of the Visa Section came to meet her there. Nadezhda offered a complete detailed account of what she had experienced at the Church of Scientology in Clearwater. The interview was conducted in the Russian language and was tape-recorded by the Visa Consul. In August 1998, there was an abrupt stoppage of new R1 visas for Scientologists wishing to visit the USA. This stoppage was evident in Russia and throughout the rest of Eastern Europe. 
I had an opportunity to interview Nadezhda by telephone on 9 April 2003 to review my notes and to ask her additional questions that would shed more light on the demographics of the other Scientologists that went to the Church in Clearwater. She confirmed that she joined the St. Petersburg Church of Scientology in 1994 and was a member until she departed from Clearwater in 1997. During the time she was with the Church, she recollects that approximately 25 members of the St. Petersburg Church went to Clearwater on R1 religious worker visas. Of the 25, she specifically recalls that eight of these were men and the rest were women. Of these 25 people, none of them returned to the St. Petersburg Church after their departure to America. She does not recall if any of the people who traveled from St. Petersburg went with their children. She confirmed that the Directors of the St. Petersburg Church were very active in convincing their members to raise money and to accept the invitations to go to Clearwater.
I asked her additional questions regarding her memories of her 11-week stay in Clearwater. The other Scientologists she met came from Poland, France, Hungary, Russia and Mexico. There were approximately 100 adults in the group and as many as 75 children between the ages of 12 and 17. She reconfirmed that all male children were separated from their mothers and girls were separated from their fathers, forced to live amongst adults of their own sex. The children were treated as adults and expected to accomplish the same tasks.
The daily work schedule consisted of a 16-hour shift. One hour per day was devoted to English language skills but these skills were designed only to understand commands given to them as laborers at the Church. What she recalls most vividly were words relative to how to march, stand up in formation and the names of items that they encountered in their daily work, i.e. forward march, stop, left face, right face, and so on. Of the Russians about 80% did not speak English; overall approximately 10% of all the people had some level of command of the English language. None of those people who were in the labor area left this area during the time she was there. Their daily chores were explained to them each morning at formation. There was no social program made available to these workers.
 In 1997, 1 US dollar equaled five Russian rubles.
 For a brief history of Scientology see Wages of Crime (RT Naylor 2002, p. 175)
 GHS, p. 38 speaks of Ecuadorian villagers who would pay between $6000 and $10,000 to smugglers for their services in arranging passage.
 GHS, pp. 18/19. Speaks about obligations imposed upon victims of trafficking once they arrive at their receiver states that were not discussed before their departure from their home states.
 GHS, p. 21 refers to “demand for cheap of free labor”. GHS, p. 52 refers to enslaved garment works in NY and LA.
 Communal apartments are those where different families live together and share common baths and kitchen facilities.
 In a personal attempt to learn more about her ordeal, I attempted to contact Major Engelhard in late 1997. I failed to reach him on repeated phone calls to Clearwater. In early 1998, the Church contacted me. A meeting was offered and arranged. Two American scientologists met with me for 45 minutes in a coffee shop in St. Petersburg. They were extremely well trained not to take questions and to control the conversations. They appeared to be lawyers but would not confirm this. They attempted to have me admit that I was aware of conversations Nadezhda may have had with the US Government and suggested that she was perhaps personally responsible for the problems they began to have following the abrupt halt of approvals of R1 visas following July 1998. Nadezhda has moved from her former home and is no longer a public citizen. She lives in constant fear of the Church of Scientology. She has attempted to visit the USA on three separate occasions since this event but has been refused all 3 times.