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US TV actress charged with sex trafficking for cult-like group

Saturday, April 21, 2018

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — An actress from the US TV series "Smallville" has been arrested on charges of sex trafficking for recruiting women to a purported self-help group in which they were forced to have sex with its leader, US prosecutors say.

Allison Mack, 35, who was arrested Friday, recruited women for what described itself as a female mentorship group, US attorney Richard Donoghue said.

The leader of the group was one Keith Raniere, also known as "Vanguard," it said.

"The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants' benefit," the prosecutor said.

The women were branded with a symbol containing the initials of the leader of the group, which was based in Albany in upstate New York.

Rainiere was arrested on sex trafficking charges in Mexico in March.

The statement said that during the past 20 years, Raniere established a series of purported self-help programs within his umbrella organisation, called "Nxivm" (pronounced NEX-i-um). It has operated centers in the United States, Mexico, Canada and South America.

It featured a pyramid scheme, as courses cost thousands of dollars each and participants were encouraged to pay for additional classes and recruit others in order to rise within the ranks.

Mack is accused of co-creating a Nxivm program that recruited actors.

"As detailed in court filings, in 2015, Raniere created a secret society within Nxivm called 'DOS,' an acronym that stands for a Latin phrase that loosely translates to 'Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions,' or 'The Vow.' DOS operated with levels of women 'slaves' headed by 'masters.'"

"Raniere stood alone at the top of the pyramid. Other than Raniere, all members of DOS were women. Mack is one of the women in the first level of the pyramid immediately below Raniere," the statement charged.

Mack played Chloe Sullivan in "Smallville," a show about the raising of Clark Kent in Smallville, Kansas, before he became known as Superman. The series lasted 10 seasons.

Mack also had roles in the movies “The Ant Bully” (2006) and “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves!” (1997).

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