Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect accused of human trafficking and sexual abuse in Mexico

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Members of Lev Tahor practice an extreme version of ultra-orthodox Judaism

The operation by the Mexican police that rescued a group of children and adolescents from the Lev Tahor camp in the middle of the jungle in the state of Chiapas has again raised serious doubts about this ultra-orthodox Jewish sect, whose members have been called “Taliban Jews” because their women wear black clothes from head to toe.

However, the controversies surrounding this religious group, based in Latin American countries such as Mexico and Guatemala, go far beyond their ultra-conservative clothing.

A federal judge in Mexico ordered the arrest of several leaders of the group, whose camp is located about 17 km north of the city of Tapachula, on suspicion of involvement in child abuse cases, following an investigation by the Special Deputy Attorney General’s Office. in organized crime research.

As the BBC journalist Raffi Berg recalls, the case of the kidnapping of two minors in 2018 — who were taken by their mother to New York after they escaped from a Guatemalan community — ended with the indictment of nine members of Lev Tahor, among them four — including the son of the cult’s founder and the current leader Nachman Helbrans — in prison.

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