KANSAS CITY, KS – A woman who claims that she was forced into performing unpaid work starting at age 11 by a Kansas City–based cult has revealed harrowing details about the abuse she says she endured as a child.
In a federal lawsuit against the group’s spiritual leader, Royall Jenkins (above), Kendra Ross alleges that from the age of 11, for about a decade, she was the victim of human trafficking at the hands of Jenkins and his organization, The Value Creators.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, alleges that the group — which was formerly known as the United Nation of Islam (UNOI) — forced Ross to work over 40,000 hours in total.
Ross, now 26, said that she spent her days working in restaurants owned by the group, and was expected to cook and clean members’ houses in the evening.
“The defendants’ actions forced Ms. Ross into involuntary servitude, and denied her fundamental rights of freedom, education, basic medical attention, and fair pay,” the suit alleges, according to the Kansas City Star.
Ross says she has been diagnosed with PTSD and still bears psychological scars from “a childhood of trafficking.”
She claimed that the group strictly monitored women’s weight, and forced them to step on the scale every Sunday before religious services to make sure that they weren’t getting fat. If a woman was above an “ideal weight,” she was forced to fast in order to slim down — and may have to pay a fine. As a child, Ross says she was fed a strict diet of beans, rice, salad, and fruit.
The UNOI taught that Black males were superior to white males, and men superior to women. Women are taught to submit to their husbands and instructed how to be proper housewives.
The group also allegedly controlled when — and to whom — its members were allowed to marry. Ross claims in the suit that men are allowed to bid on women in the group — and that Jenkins has final say over which unions can take place. At age 20, Ross said she was forced into an illegal marriage by a “psychic doctor” as one of several wives of a member.
Royall Jenkins was a member of the Nation of Islam until 1978 when he formed the separate United Nation of Islam.
According to the suit, Jenkins believes that “angels and/or scientists” abducted him and escorted him through the galaxy on a spaceship and gave him instructions on how to rule the world — and, after that, Jenkins told his followers to refer to him as “Allah on Earth,” “Allah in Person,” or “The Supreme Being.”
Jenkins began his group in an economically depressed area of Kansas City, and later branched out to other cities and states. The members were kept isolated: Children are educated at UNOI schools, and members lived in group homes and worked for free.
At some point, the group changed its name to The Value Creators and many of its businesses appear to have closed.
The group’s Facebook profile photo shows what appears to be a spaceship shining light on a pile of gold bars surrounded by the words “Wealthful Growth.”
Ross says she has been living in a safe house since April 2015 in order to avoid contact with the group. Jenkins now lives in Arizona.
According to the lawsuit, Ross is seeking the $451,196 she estimates is owed her for the more than 40,000 hours of slave labor she performed for the group. She is also asking for $2,250,000 for her emotional suffering and $5 million in punitive damages.
So far, The Value Creators have offered no comment on the allegations made in the lawsuit.
Main photo: Royall Jenkins [Wikimedia Commons]