Hawaii megachurch under investigation for alleged human trafficking
Felina Sabino Salinas, the business manager of Filipino televangelist Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, has until May 31st to convince a federal judge in Hawaii to dismiss a criminal complaint against her.
She is accused of cash smuggling more than $350,000 out of the U.S. on February 13th, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
But Salinas is possibly facing another legal problem.
The FBI is reportedly investigating her and the kingdom of Jesus Christ Church in Hawaii for alleged human trafficking.
“A key part of what defines a human trafficking element. Are you free to leave? Can you get up and just leave that condition and that scenario. Sometimes the bonds are razor wires and guards. Other times it’s physical violence and psychological torture.”
FBI special agent Dr. Arnold Laanui cannot confirm or deny that Salinas or the church is being investigated.
But Laanui did tell BA in an exclusive interview the kinds of human trafficking cases the FBI investigates in Hawaii.
“There are those situations when we are looking at involuntary servitude, we have those cases along those lines, not necessarily sex trafficking of Filipinos in Hawaii. Do we see filipino young ladies out there? Yup, but not necessarily from Philippines. Some are actually from either LA, Las Vegas, or from right here in Hawaii.”
In Salinas’ case, the human trafficking probe reportedly stems from a 2015 assault claim against Salinas by a former church member, Kristina Angeles.
Angeles claimed that if church members didn’t raise enough money for the church, they were punished. Angeles reportedly showed signs of injuries to police.
Special agent Laanui says more often, victims could not self-report.
“In some of these cases, these involuntary servitude cases, you got individuals that are in guarded compounds and it’s really difficult for us to even know the compound exists. Oftentimes it takes a very concerned citizen that sees something shady and just goes ahead makes a report.”
Special agent Laanui wants to remind the public that there are different ways to report abuses.
You can call 808-566-4300, or walk in to any police or FBI office or go online at tips.fbi.gov.
Meanwhile, Quiboloy’s lawyer has said that the pastor has not received a notice on any investigation.