Woman Claims Scientology Cruise Ship Held Her Captive For 12 Years

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Nov. 30 2011, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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By Amber Goodhand - Radar Reporter

A Swiss woman claims she was held captive for 12 years on the Church of Scientology’s cruise ship, Freewinds, has learned.

During an interview with Australia’s ABC Lateline program, Valeska Paris says Scientology leader David Miscavige sent her to live on the ship when she was just 18-years-old — never allowing her to leave the ship without supervision and having her engage in hard labor.

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"I was basically hauled in and told that my mum had attacked the church and that I needed to disconnect from her because she was suppressive," Paris explained in the video interview, adding that her mother left the church after her husband killed himself after a Scientology deal duped him out of millions of dollars.

"He decided the ship, and I found out two hours before my plane left. I was woken up in the morning and I was sent to the ship for 'two weeks.'"

But two weeks turned into a long and lonely 12 years for Paris.

"I did not want to be there, I made it clear I did not want to be there and that was considered bad ethics, meaning it was considered not right," Paris said.

"They take your passport when you go on the ship and you're in the middle of an island. So it's a bit hard to escape and by that time I was 18, I'd been in Scientology my whole life, it's not like I knew how to escape.”

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Paris finally left the cruise ship in 2007 and left the Church of Scientology altogether in 2010.

The Church of Scientology denies Paris' claims and says, "She certainly wasn't 'forced' to be there. She was also never forced to perform labor in the engine room.

"The Freewinds is a wonderful place, as even Valeska said on numerous occasions. Her allegation that she could only leave the ship with an escort is totally false."


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