In early January of 2020 the topic I chose to start off the year was Human Trafficking. I took a pause to write about an event that happened in my life and now I’m back to discuss this important subject. In my pervious articles on this topic I discussed that Human Trafficking comes in various forms and it doesn’t only take place in foreign country. It could take place in your local neighborhood or even your own backyard. In Van Nuys a Philippine-based church was raided on January 29, 2020. That’s 3 months ago! The church was named “The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name.” This church was surprising close to were I lived. Why did it get raided? Why did the FBI get involved? You guessed it, it was involved with Human Trafficking. It literally took me 15 minutes to drive from my house to the church itself.
I’ve read many news articles and tried to do further research about this investigation but not much was out there besides what the press has gathered. It doesn’t mention how the FBI got informed about this church being involved with Human Trafficking but it does mention what type of trafficking this church was doing and it was Laborious trafficking. I’m briefly going to go over the information I read. According to many new sources it doesn’t specify on the number of victims that were involved but it does discuss on the type of treatment they experienced and the work they did. They mentioned victims did “charity work,” volunteer work. They were referred as “miracle workers.” They sold baked goods, sang at restaurants and panhandled to meet their daily quota. While doing this some of the victims had to sleep in their car. If they didn’t reach the daily quota, they were physical and/or psychologically (emotionally) abused. The traffickers confiscated passports, did document servitude, and arranged fraud marriages just so they can have temporary citizenships here in the US. They also had some enroll in Universities for temporary citizenships. In the church they found 80 passports, 7 wedding rings and 1 folder titled “traitor.” The donations they received for their “charity work” didn’t go to the charity they claimed to raise money for “Children Joy Foundation USA”, the money went to finance luxury lifestyle for church leaders (I’m assuming those in the Philippines and maybe those leading this church) and the operation of the church. While they gathered all this information they arrested 3 lead members of the church, they were traffickers. Now I would like to ask a question, when you think of the word “trafficker”, what gender comes to mind? I’ve always been curious. Before you continue reading, take a moment to think about it and leave your answer in the comment section below.
Now that you left your answer, this might surprise some of you. They arrested Marissa Duenas who is 41, Amanda Estopare who is 48, and Guia Cabactulan who is 59. Duenas handled immigration documents and marriage fraud, Estopare handled fundraisers, the daily quota and handed the finances for the church leaders in the Philippines, and Cabactulan was the church official in the US. According to new sources, Duenas and Cabactulan were arrested in Van Nuys and Estopare was arrested in Virginia. These 3 women were the ones trafficking these victims, abusing the current victims and those who managed to escape. (Hence the folder titled “Traitor.”) The church had a spokesman speaking in behalf of the church founder and he, the spokesman mentions that the former members of the church have told “grand conspiracy of lies” to the FBI. Israelito Torreon a lawyer says “Their aim (former members), therefore, is to exact revenge, extortion commingled with a brazen but shameless desire to put (Quiboloy) and the (church) as a whole into a quagmire of shame, blatant humiliation and defeat through trumped-up charges.” I will link the news article below.
You all are probably wondering who is Quiboloy (if you didn’t keep up with this new)? Apollo Quiboloy is the church founder and leader. He calls himself “the appointed son of God.” He was born on April 25, 1950 in Davao City. In 1985, Quiboloy founded ‘The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name.” With only 15 members at the time. He began preaching in Agdao, Davao City and he is now senior pastor at “The Kingdom of Jesus Christ” church. He now claims to have millions of followers and locations including overseas. 2 years ago, Pastor Quiboloy was alleged of Human Trafficking in Hawaii now along side with Van Nuys. He’s alleged for Trafficking in 2 SEPARATE locations! He was also caught smuggling over 100K out of the US back to the Philippines along side with some of those close to him. This says a lot about this man and I want to find out more about him and his grand scheme behind this “church.”
Not long after I wrote my pervious articles about Human Trafficking, it decided too take place in my own town. I was absolutely mind blown. To me, this was proof that this can take place anywhere and you don’t even know it. 3 months later I decided to take a drive down to the church myself to see how it looked, if it was occupied and if their was anyone around to speak to when the raiding took place. When I arrived it was very quite. The church look exactly how it was in the news article. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, my heart was beating fast. I was actually at the place where trafficking took place. I walked up to the church and the first thing I noticed were 3 vehicles parked behind the building in the drive way behind a locked gate with the a sign that reads “Caution. Automatic gate opens & closes by remote control.” As I stood in front of the main entrance, there were 2 reattached tall brown doors. It remained shut but would of opened for those to enter on church day. There was a white metal gate that reminded lock for that extra protection for the church. I couldn’t help but notice a chunk of wood missing from the top right corner of the double doors. Maybe due to the FBI having to knock it down to access the church. As I continued walking to the left side of the building there were 5 large windows that had mirror tint on the outside, probably for those walking by unable to see what’s going on inside. I didn’t bother knocking or seeing if there was a way to enter the facility. I didn’t want to trespassing and I assumed their was no one their due to what happened 3 months ago and the coronavirus that’s spreading rapidly in the US. I however did look around to see if there was anyone I was able to talk to that was able to witness that day the FBI took a visit and if they were aware of the church being involved with human trafficking. But there was no one around while I was there besides a taco truck that sold food for those on their lunch break. I decided to walk back to my car and from my car I was able to see the sign that says “The Kingdom of Jesus Christ The Name Above Every Name.” Knowing I was at the location were these victims once suffered was unbelievable. I still can’t wrap my head around it. All I was able to think about was hope those victims are in a better environment and the traffickers get what they deserve.
For those of you reading. If you see any sign of human trafficking taking place or know of anyone involved in human trafficking, I can’t stress this enough. Please don’t take it into your own hands, call law enforcement immediately to handle the situation (911) or call the Human Trafficking Hotline to investigate. Remember this quick phone can save a life. In the next few articles I would like to talk about the victims and what they experience while going through this traumatic situation. I left the links down below for those of you that want to read more about this incident that took place on January 29, 2020. Please stay tuned for the next article, thank you for your support and thank you for reading 👌.
Human Trafficking Hotline: 1(888)373-7888
SMS: 233733 (text “Help” or “Info”)
Links: https://childrensjoyfoundation.org/, https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/fbi-raids-los-angeles-church-make-immigration-fraud-68613533, https://ktla.com/news/local-news/leader-denies-allegations-after-fbi-raid-on-van-nuys-church-leads-to-3-arrests/, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-02-13/three-leaders-of-philippines-based-church-indicted-on-human-trafficking-immigration-fraud-charges, https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fast-facts/196156-fast-facts-pastor-apollo-quiboloy-kingdom-jesus-christ, https://www.christianpost.com/news/megachurch-pastor-apollo-quiboloy-allegedly-smuggled-over-100k-out-of-the-us.html,