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SPAC Nation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:28 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Minister (Education) (Children and Families) 9:28 pm, 8th January 2020

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for raising yet another alarming case of what appears to be a form of fraud and deception perpetrated on a family who had just lost their mother. It seems to have been deliberately intended to disinherit her children.

There are many ways in which the leaders of this organisation appear to be perpetrating fraud in order to enrich themselves. I have spoken to young people who, sickeningly, were taken to private clinics to sell their blood, with a so-called pastor pretending to be their parent in order to sign consent forms. I have spoken to young people who were coached to commit benefit fraud. I have met students—I have also spoken to their parents—who were coerced into handing over their entire student loans before being taken to banks to raise further money through personal loans, so they lost their ability to continue in education and ended up in serious debt.

Tragically, where criminal exploitation is taking place, there is often also sexual exploitation. One young woman told me that she was just 16 when she moved into a trap house and, in her words,

“everyone was having sex with everyone else, it was disgusting”.

I asked her to clarify whether she meant older pastors having sex with younger girls, and she said yes.

When that young woman complained to her pastor, she was taken to the organisation’s leader, who told her that if she complained to the police, it would rebound on her, because he was powerful and had friends in high places. He made that claim look real to these vulnerable young people by inviting politicians and senior police officers to his church services. He even met the Prime Minister in No. 10 Downing Street. I believe all those people thought they were engaging with a Church that helped vulnerable young people, but in reality they were being used to intimidate young victims and prevent them from speaking out.

SPAC Nation is not an organisation that is getting young people out of crime, as it claims; it is an organisation that is criminalising young people for its own ends. It operates right across London and has already expanded into other cities, including Birmingham and Leicester.