Paris claims she was first sent to the ship aged eighteen for two weeks as a teenager but ended up spending twelve years there. Paris also claims that her passport was taken away from her and she was forced to work in the engine room.
Paris was born in Switzerland but her parents moved her to the United Kingdom when she was six so they could be closer to the church’s headquarters. She joined the Sea Org aged 14. In 1995, at age seventeen, she was told to “disconnect” from her mother.
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. —Valeska Paris
“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”. Her mother had spoken out against Scientology on French television after her ex-husband and Paris’ father, Albert Jaquier, committed suicide after he lost his fortune to Scientology. Paris claims that she was kept at Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida until she was eighteen and then transferred to the Freewinds.
On board the Freewinds, Paris claims that she was working from 6:00am to midnight and due to lack of sleep ended up being a “walking zombie”. She also claims that in 1997 and 1998, she was tasked with removal of asbestos from the ship.
In 2007, Paris left the ship after a confrontation with the ship’s management. She was eventually sent to Rehabilitation Project Force in Sydney, which the Church describes as a religious retreat, but critics charge is a forced work camp. Here, she met her future husband and subsequently left the church.
In a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Church denied these allegations: “She certainly wasn’t ‘forced’ to be there. She was also never forced to perform labour in the engine room.” They also claimed Paris was a “volunteer” and claim she has a “vested interest for misrepresenting her experiences with the Church.” The Church also claims that Paris not having her passport was “maritime procedure”..