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Vakeska Paris Imprisoned On Cruise Ship For 12 years By Church of Scientology

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Ms Paris said she was on the Freewinds (pictured) for the last 12 years

A former Scientologist has claimed she was imprisoned for 12 years on board a cruise liner after her family denounced the religion.

Valeska Paris says she was held against her will aboard the church's luxury 'cathedral' ship The Freewinds from the aged of 18.

Ms Paris, who now lives in Australia, alleges she was forced into hard labour and never allowed to leave the ship without an escort.

In an interview with the ABC News Lateline program, Ms Paris claims Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige sent her to the ship when to stop her family from pulling her out of the organisation.

'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,' she said.

'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".'

Instead of the promised two week stay, Ms Paris said she was forced into work on the lower levels of the ship for 12 years.

'It's hot, it's extremely loud, it's smelly, it's not nice. I was sent down there at first for 48 hours straight on almost no sleep and I had to work by myself,' she said.

'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,' she 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,' she said.

Ms Paris was born into a Scientology family in Switzerland, and at the age of six she moved to Scientology's UK headquarters in East Grinstead where she was placed in its then youth wing.

At 14 she joined the Church's elite Sea Organisation, signing a contract binding her for a billion years, a commitment that would override her bond with her own family.

Her mother had denounced Scientology on French TV after her ex-husband Albert Jaquier committed suicide.

A self-made millionaire, his last days were spent in poverty, and in a diary he kept, he blamed the Church of Scientology for fleecing him of his fortune.

Ms Paris says the church was so worried her mother would take her away that Mr Miscavige intervened, ordering she be taken to the church's cruise ship.

She described him as a psychopath and says he should be put on trial.

'It's not right for someone to be running the church and basically take advantage of a church and hiding behind religion to live like a king and abuse people around him. That man doesn't like anyone, he's a psychopath,' she said.

The Freewinds is used as a base to deliver Scientology's highest level counselling course known as Operating Thetan Level VIII.

It cruises around the Caribbean docking at small islands. The Church says ships have religious significance to Scientologists because its founder L Ron Hubbard, had researched and ministered the first Operating Thetan levels aboard a ship.

A Scientology promotional video says the ship 'stands at the forefront of a growing worldwide movement towards spiritual advancement transporting Scientologists to new realms of freedom'.

In a statement, the Church of Scientology denied Ms Paris' claims.

It said: 'She certainly wasn't "forced" to be there. She was also never forced to perform labour 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.'

The Church of Scientology is famous for attracting a celebrity following, particularly among Hollywood’s elite.

Among its devotees are Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and John Travolta.

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