In what is being applauded as “a powerful tool for the anti-trafficking movement,” a Kansas judge has awarded $8 million to a woman who says that as a child and until she escaped at 21, she was transported across the country by a cult and forced to work for no pay, being physically and emotionally abused.
Kendra Ross alleges that during the 10-year ordeal (2002-2012), the United Nation of Islam (UNOI), which was renamed the Value Creators in 2015, moved her into a home of female members, discontinued her schooling, and transported her to Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, New Jersey and New York, where she worked in the organization’s restaurants and bakeries, and as a maid, cook and childcare provider, against her will.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree stated that Ross became “severely malnourished” during this time, but she believed that “if she did not continue to work for them, she would suffer serious harm.”
“They yelled at her, and generally humiliated, shamed and embarrassed her on a regular basis,” he outlined. “She was young, vulnerable and alone during this 10-year period.”
Ross’ mother had joined the UNOI in 2002, a group founded by Royall Jenkins following a split from Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. She was separated from her mother some time later.
At age 20, the group “facilitated a marriage between Ms. Ross and another UNOI member through a psychic doctor who claimed to have unique knowledge of compatibility among UNOI members,” Ross claimed in her legal challenge.
The following year, she successfully escaped. Ross has since suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Although this legal win doesn’t change anything that has happened in the past, it makes me feel like some justice has been served,” Ross said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “I’ll always live with the memories of what’s been done to me. To all of the members who are still a part of The Value Creators, and those who have left, it is not too late to get out, to be free and get help, justice and closure.”
According to reports, Jenkins formed the UNOI after claiming to have been abducted either by angels or aliens, who told him that he is Allah and returned him to Earth. His website also contains remarks asserting that he is “Allah in person” and that “[t]he Caucasian has proven, through his actions towards that which IS, as being an enemy to Allah and Allah’s Creation.”
A video posted to YouTube further features a man referred to as “God Ephraim” introducing Jenkins as “The Supreme Being.”
It is not known whether or not Ross has yet reunited with her mother. She is now 26 years old and lives in a safe house.