[Stop-traffic] News/US: Missionary group members could stand trial for smuggling children

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Missionary group members could stand trial for smuggling children
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Jul 28 2000 - 08:42:43 EDT


Missionary group members could stand trial for smuggling children
June 9, 2000

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Three leaders of a Woodbine missionary group who pleaded
guilty to smuggling youngsters into the United States to work at a
church-run business could stand trial on the charges.

A federal judge ruled this week that the leaders of the Word of Faith World
Outreach Church could withdraw their guilty pleas and go to trial, probably
in October.

Joyce E. Perdue, Robert C. Hendricks and Elizabeth Brown were sentenced to
prison over a year ago. They appealed, arguing that they only pleaded
guilty to violating imigration law because they weren't permitted to
present their defense that church work shouldn't be subject to U.S.
immigration rules.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in
April that U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis should reconsider his
decision to block the defense. Garbis reviewed the case and allowed the
three to stand trial.

Prosecutors say the church leaders brought young people from Estonia to the
country for training and schooling at the Howard County church. The group
intended to use the Estonians to clean homes and install office furniture,
investigators allege.

Prosecutors say the Estonians made $10 to $100 per week while the
church-run businesses netted thousands in profits.

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

Please contact me off-list for any questions about the list at
<<morhant@igc.org>>.

Women's Reproductive Health Initiative
Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
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Stop-traffic is facilitated, international electronic list
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dealing with human rights abuses associated with trafficking
in persons, with an emphasis on public health and trafficking
in persons for forced labor, including forced prostitution,
sweatshop labor, domestic service and some coercive mail
order bride arrangements.
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