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Survivor of cult helps bring down the human trafficking sect he escaped from

Survivor of cult helps bring down the human trafficking sect he escaped from

Pablo Salum was the first person to escape and denounce the ‘Escuela de Yoga’ or ‘Yoga School’ sect

A cult in Buenos Aires has been dismantled by police after more than 50 raids in the Argentinian capital on Friday 12 August. 

Victim Pablo Salum is believed to have been the first child taken in by the sect when he was just eight years old, when his mother visited the group for help with a health problem. 

He said at first it was a school of philosophy and new age culture where yoga was also practiced, but that it began to grow into a much larger operation. 


Salum told Argentian outlet TN: “The first meeting we went to, we were four people, I was the first child to be caught. Then it grew rapidly and we were more than a thousand people." 

He added: “I went from having a beautiful family, I went to having nothing. They left us totally destroyed.” 

Salum was the first person to escape and denounce the ‘Escuela de Yoga’ or ‘Yoga School’ sect and filed his first official complaints between 1991 and 1992, but said these came to nothing. 

Pablo Salum.

TN reports that the group's crime was the trafficking of persons reduced to servitude through coercion.

He continued: “Juan Percovich and his son Marcelo Guerra, in charge of the organization, captured politicians, celebrities, human rights people, which is proven in the previous case, exchanged sexual favours with people from the organization, including my mother and my sister." 

Salum also claimed children were ‘forced to have sexual relations with adults and with their own parents’. 


According to the investigation, which has been a collaboration between a number of international authorities, the cult brought people in by offering treatment, with a primary purpose of making money while also spread a philosophy of ending the ‘evils of AIDs and drugs’ and ‘the development of happiness’. 

Among items seized by authorities were pornographic material, jewellery and medicines.

TN reports how the profits allowed leaders to legally create foundations abroad, in turn generating further income in foreign currency, which was in turn laundered through the purchase of properties and vehicles. 

As also reported by Vía País, 24 people were arrested in the raids in Villa Crespo.

The outlet said: "More than a million dollars, almost 2 million pesos, pounds sterling, euros, pornographic material, sex toys, property titles and a Ford Bronco truck were seized in an operation that took place at the Villa Crespo headquarters, in the neighbourhoods of Belgrano and Flores, a country in the North Zone and also in the Ezeiza International Airport."

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111 

Featured Image Credit: TN/PFA