Campus, News

False rumors spread of sex-trafficking by religious solicitors on campus

Several Boston University students have reported encounters with solicitors from the World Mission Society Church of God, a group that was recently and falsely accused of involvement with human trafficking in Kent, Ohio.

Kent State University’s Undergraduate Student Government tweeted on Feb. 12, warning students of “a potential sex trafficking scam in the Kent area that involves people posing as preachers of ‘God the Mother,’” a common expression among members of the World Mission Society.

A screenshot of that tweet was posted in the Official Boston University Class of 2020 Facebook group on Wednesday, and several students commented that they had been approached by individuals talking about “God the Mother” on BU’s campus.

Multiple sources have dispelled the rumor that the church is involved in sex trafficking.

According to the Record-Courier, a newspaper based in Kent, Ohio, Kent State University Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles said no evidence indicates that WMSCOG is involved in sex trafficking.

“They are an established religious organization,” Knoles told the Record-Courier. “We have found no credible ties with any kind of human trafficking.”

Knoles’ statement was confirmed by Kent City Police Lt. Michael Lewis in the same Record-Courier article.

Katherine Cornetta, BU’s assistant to the Dean of Students, wrote in an email that allegations against WMSCOG preachers on BU’s campus have so far only been unconfirmed rumors.

At this time, the people doing this along Commonwealth Avenue are not believed to be connected to any sex trafficking ring,” Cornetta wrote. “We understand how that rumor began, but it is not the case with these particular solicitors.”

WMSCOG missionary Victor Lozada said he believes that the rumors spread through social media are a danger to the members of his church.

People automatically believing social media, they assume the worst,” Lozada said. “Now [our members’] lives are being affected by this. Our members almost got pepper-sprayed a while ago. I almost got ran over by a car the other day.”

While no evidence exists to link the church to human trafficking, several students still reported uncomfortable experiences with individuals preaching about “God the Mother.”

Several of the students who commented on the Facebook post in the BU group recounted their experiences with the WMSCOG missionaries for The Daily Free Press.

Erich Engelhardt, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he once agreed to talk to one of these individuals out of curiosity, but grew uneasy with where the conversation led.

“After about ten minutes, our conversation ended with him saying that I had to get baptized again,” Engelhardt wrote in a Facebook message. “He told me that if I came with him it could happen tonight. I told him I couldn’t, and he then got a little pushy. He finally conceded and let me go after giving me his number.”

Samantha Sajdak, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, said two women, possibly posing as graduate students, approached her while she was walking to class and pressured her to attend a Bible study. 

“There was just something off about these girls,” Sajdak wrote in a Facebook message, “so I just said I was late for class and almost ran away and texted my friends that I think I was just invited to join a cult.”

Paige Pajarillo, a senior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said a persistent solicitor approached her late at night and also invited her to a Bible study.

“I said I wasn’t interested, and she aggressively began talking again, telling me that I need to learn about God/Jesus and that I should come to this meeting,” Pajarillo wrote in a Facebook message. “She was incredibly insistent about going to this meeting.”

Pajarillo said she thinks BU should make sure all students are aware of the solicitors.

“I was lucky since I had no desire to go to their meeting in the first place, but what could have happened if I was a religious person who was interested in going?” Pajarillo wrote. “If I knew to be on the look-out in the first place, I would have definitely been alarmed/concerned about this situation.”

Cornetta wrote that if students are approached by “God the Mother” preachers, they should report it to Marsh Chapel, the Dean of Students Office or the BU Police Department, whose phone number is on the back of every student’s Terrier Card.

Though no evidence exists that links the World Mission Society Church of God to a scam for sex traffickers, Cornetta wrote that students should still be cautious of all solicitors on campus.

“This is not the first time a group like this has targeted campus,” Cornetta wrote. “Given that BU is along a large, long, public thoroughfare, these groups find us an attractive place to solicit. As always, we encourage students to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.”

CLARIFICATION: In her quote in this article, it was implied that Samantha Sajdak talked to two women from the World Mission Society Church. Sajdak said she doesn’t know if the women were, in fact, from this organization. 

More Articles


  1. I am a member of the world mission society church of God . This accusations are false. I’ve been in this church for years and never seen any sex trafficking happen. We have received awards from president Barack Obama and even Queen Elizabeth, which is a very prestigious thing to receive as a church. Now how can a “cult” so called or “sex-traffickers” receive amazing awards from very important people of the world ? When we preach to people we are never pushy , we just spread the love of Christ and about the existence of God the Mother and invite willingly people to join a study but we never force them to come and convert them. We never by force take their numbers or insist them to get baptized. I totally disagree with this article making my church seem like a bad church. And am highly disappointed on this very well known School where students are being mislead by the internt and spreading false rumors. Once again the world mission society church of God is a very well known group organization that spreads the love of Christ and as well are very well recognized for our community services and servings our neighbors as Christ taught us.

    • Hey Karla! Author of the article here. I know the accusations are false, it’s in the article! Clearly, it is totally affirmed that there is no evidence to suggest the WMSCG is sex trafficking. Thank you for reading!

  2. I feel bad that that is how preaching was taken by the students at BU. When I was invited to the church for bible study it was my coworker and I accepted because I really wanted to understand the Bible so I went. It was amazing! I learned about the sabbath day and I was so excited because I was never shown about the sabbath before in the Bible growing up in the Catholic Church. Every since I continued studying and now I’m so happy to be a part of the World Mission Society Church of God. We do a lot of community service in blood drives and cleanups and we’re awarded by many leaders such as president Barack Obama’s and queen Elizabeth for the community services we do throughout the world. It’s sad we were labeled in such a negative way, but we love to bible study! I hope everyone can come and see the amazing prophecies being fulfilled in the Bible!

  3. I just wanted to share that my experience with the World Mission Society Church of God was completely different. I was asked if I knew the right day of worship. After I expressed that I know I was politely asked if I would like to attend a bible study. That was the end of the conversation.

  4. As a member of the World Mission Society Church of God, all I can say is that this is a little heartbreaking. Because of one false allegation or rumor, all the great things that this Church has done to society is not mentioned even once. We’ve received awards from Presidents of countries (including the United States), received the Queen’s (of England) award, donated to various disaster relief funds, have participated in tons of volunteer work. This is a false allegation (as this article states), however I’m a little disappointed that you can’t talk to people without being accused of soliciting. It could be a misunderstanding of the word or an incorrect usage of it; however, in NO way is asking questions about God fit the criteria of the word soliciting. I really hope we can start having a broader mind.

    • Hey George! Author here. It is important to note that this is a news article, not a feature. The reason the WMSCG is being written about is because of these false rumors. Clearly, we’ve addressed that they are false. That is all. Appreciate your readership!

  5. It’s incredibly sad that people choose to believe rumors posted on social media, with no knowledge whatsoever. What students are saying about their experience in encountering members of this church is completely opposite of my experience. I was also approached by members from this church, and I would first like to say, they didn’t try to “solicit” anything to me, but rather invited me for a bible study, in which I did attend. Not once have I heard anything about the vicious rumor spoken about in this story, and I’ve done several studies at this church. Also, if I someone has passion for what they believe in, and would like to share it with someone else, is that a problem? There’s a big difference between being pushy and being passionate. I believe that people should get their facts straight before they assume anything and also should stop believing lies posted on social media!

  6. It’s too bad that a good organization can gain a bad reputation because of rumors that have been repeatedly and independently verified as completely false.

    In my experience with the church, there has been a common goal of spreading joy and love to others through church activities or volunteer services. I’ve seen them make a big difference through cleanups even in overlooked places like Jamaica Plain and Dorchester. I know the communities and city officials have genuinely appreciated it.

    I hope people can look past the negative comments and appreciate the good that the church is trying to bring.

  7. I attended bible studies at the World Mission society church of God and  I have nothing but amazing experiences. I Remeber the first time a friend of mine who I knew since young was attending the church I saw her always happy and smiling. But one day in class, since we went to school together she told me she has been attending bible studies and some of the topics she has done and that every study is shown in the bible. I was happy to see how happy my friend has become since going to the church and doing bible studies that I agreed to check it out one day,   “Not soliciting but inviting me two different meanings” I ended up going like a month later since I was never closed minded in learning about God and went to a bible study. Everyone was so friendly and greeted me nicely. I did one bible study and left with amazement and agreed to come again to do more. I was then invited to a clean up the church was doing on that same week and I really didn’t do volenteer service growing up but agreed to go. The volunteer service event I attended for the first time with the church was removing knotweed that was affecting other plants from growing. I remember feeling amazed to see what the church was doing to help the environment and I had fun doing it. Everyone was working together and the people that were there were all so happy to receive help. Some people may spread rumors on social media but how can others believe something without experiencing them selves. 

  8. Bertrand Bélancourt

    It’s really unfortunate that someone would go through so much trouble to try to defame such an amazing church. I’ve been a member of the World Mission Society Church of God for a while now, and in this church, you’ll find the kindest, most respectable, selfless, loving people on this earth, and it shows through the multiple awards given to the Church of God from world leaders such as President Obama and Queen Elisabeth.
    The members are very passionate and selflessly carry out acts of kindness throughout the world by holding community service events and always strive to be a positive influence to everyone in their surroundings. I’ve personally spoken to many people about the Church and about the Bible, and they were very thankful for being able to have a better understanding of the Bible, a better understanding of God’s plan, and build their faith. There aren’t enough words to express how grateful and honored I am to be a member of the World Mission Society Church of God.

  9. And what about the other side of the story? I’ve been approached by members of the World Mission Society Church of God and had a great experience. I was really interested to see God the Mother actually written in the Bible and I was also impressed by the church’s global community service. Sure, it’s not for everyone but I don’t think you should make it seem like it’s bad for everyone.

  10. Sueheidi Villanueva

    While I am glad the false rumors about sex trafficking are cleared up about the World Mission Society Church of God I’m still a bit saddened to hear that anyone felt forced or uncomfortable to study the bible. As we live in a time where we can all express our beliefs and views freely through social media and many other outlets we must not forget what we post or share with the world will always be out there and affects the lives of many people especially when they’re not true. My sister invited me to come for a bible study at the world mission society church of God almost 6 years ago and I have studying the bible there ever since. Not once did I ever feel forced to do anything that I wasn’t comfortable with or do something that was against my will. Everything Ive learned and have come to believe today has been shown to me through the bible. It is natural to want to share good things with others which is why I too want to share with not only ny friends and family but also whoever i meet when im out about what I have learned. After attending the World Mission Society Church of God i also learned to be a better example in the society I am a part of by participating in several different kinds of volunteer services. I’ve learned nothing but good things when coming to the church of God. Not only in my spiritual life but also in my physical life I’ve learned how important it is to do good to others. As this false rumor was cleared up i also hope anyone who has had any misunderstandings about the World Mission Society Church of God will give themselves the opportunity to clear that up as well as this is a wonderful church and organization .

  11. Just a few months, news outlets along the East Coast, even in Boston, praised the Church of God for its good deeds. The church volunteers carried out cleanups in just about every state with the goal to clean a distance equal to the circumference of the earth. But a nonsense social media post that went viral has everyone misjudging the Church of God, causing members to be put in harm’s way, and accusing Church members of exercising their right of freedom of speech and religion.

  12. On June 2, 2016 Queen Elizabeth II announced the World Mission Society Church of God as a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Volunteer Service.

    The infinity of awards that the church of God has for its great example for society are not a rumor is reality. Universities should be a source that teaches tolerance and respect to have free religion, ideas or dreams and not a place where people who study the Bible are slandered.

  13. And this quote – is this ok?

    “I would imagine you are studying Journalism and are invested in the safety of your school for which I commend you, however as Journalists should know they are to report unbiased news stories. Your story above, unfortunately, only quotes students who were, for some reason, hesitant about being invited. This story did not include comments from anyone who had a positive experience with the church. Yes, we do approach people and invte them to come, however it’s with the greatest intention to learn about the prophecies of God. The church has won many prestigious awards all around the world including the President’s Call to Service Award. We are an established organization of which you can easily see online and I would suggest everyone do a little more investigating before they so easily make false claims against a church that has contributed so much to society as those are very vicious rumors that are stirring up unnecessary fear in people”

    • How you doing Tina? Writer here!
      This story was written in response to a Facebook post where students described that they felt uncomfortable being approached by WMSCG preachers in the BU area. We decided to clear out the air in regards to potential sex traffickers being on campus. It is clear that there is nothing wrong with the WMSCG, and that is evident within the article. I sat down with a missionary from your church and he did a fantastic job of presenting your church in a good light. As much as those awards are something to be proud of, they present little insight into the issue at hand. I did do my research, however! I present no false claims about your church in the article, it is merely unfortunate that so many BU students have had negative experiences with your preachers. Thank you for reading!

  14. Me too! I was also invited For Bible studies abouth God the Mother! at that time of mi life I was in college and I also worked full time, when I joined the Bible studies I felt that it was the first time I really learned something about God!
    I went to several churches before and I also learned about religion in my school, but I felt that something was missing . But by participating in Bible studies at the WMSCOG i really see the love of God and understand the Bible! especially the community services touch my heart , helping others and all the presidential awards that the WMSCOG receives for their great contribution to society!
    I realize those who speak against the WMSCOG should become like the members of the WMSCOG to make our Country,City,even our campuses and schools a better place full of sincere love and great example for future generations !

  15. I’m so saddened to hear about the awful rumors spreading about such a wonderful organization and church. I was given the pleasure to attend a volunteer service activity with the World Mission Society Church of God and my experience was completely different from what has been depicted on social media. During their Mother’s Street world wide street clean up campaign members of the WMSCOG were nothing but welcoming, kind and enthusiastic about giving a helping hand to their community. It was an amazing experience to see both young and adults outside with smiles on their faces as they worked for free just the gratitude of cleaning their neighborhood was enough for them. During the clean up they explained about their church’s beliefs; however, they were anything but persistent. I hope people are able to overlook all of these rumors and see for themselves how great of an organization the World Mission Society Church of God actually is.

  16. It’s true that WMSCOG members invite college students to Bible studies. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I myself was invited by a classmate of mine to attend a Bible study when I was in community college. I never once had a strange feeling when he spoke to me about the Bible. It was a casual conversation, even though I was a skeptic who didn’t even believe in the Bible. A few months later, I started going to do Bible studies at the World Mission Society Church of God and loved it because all of my questions were thoroughly explained through the Bible. On another note, the church has done a tremendous amount of work for society, in the U.S. and internationally. So to bring up these rumors of human trafficking is very sad and offensive to me. I hope that people can look past these false rumors and see the church for what it really is.

  17. I am surprised when I saw that some people felt offended by WMSCOG’s preaching. Preaching is not done unless people agree to it. It is never forced. Also the message they deliver is in line with the Bible. If you are skeptical of their message, use your own version to cross examine it. Hope people do not have any misunderstanding about this great church.

  18. As a member of the Church of God, I’m offended that our church is being even loosely linked to criminal activity, and that this publication is perpetuating the rumors. Our church has very strong values and sets a good example in society- that’s one of the main reasons my family and I chose this church over any other, and have remained members for so long. Maybe some people don’t like to be asked about God, but it is unfair to make such extreme allegations about the church without any background knowledge. I feel sorry to the members suffering the backlash of such thoughtless comments.

  19. I’ve been a member of the Church of God for some time now, and I’m offended by what is said in this article. I don’t understand how someone can accuse a church with something so insane. It doesn’t even make sense. The Church of God is an outstanding organization that makes an incredible amount of effort to support the community. It even received an award from Queen Elizabeth. I don’t think Queen Elizabeth would give an award to a church that would do something like this. I’m very proud to be a member of the World Mission Society Church of God.

  20. Totally agreed!
    What’s wrong with Bible studies??
    On campus random people invite me to joint parties,smoking,drink alcohol etc…all the time!
    Can this be considered “soliciting or cult” as well?
    Really guys??
    I think a Bible study would be one of the most pleasant and productive invitations specially in the times that we living in …Just saying….

  21. The World Mission Society Church of God is well known for its international voluntary service. We are in 185 different countries, have over 7,000 churches worldwide and are actively working to make the world a better place. We believe in God the Father and God the Mother as testified in the Bible and encourage anyone with misunderstandings about our church to come and study or even join a volunteer event. We are normal, God fearing people who are just zealous about God. Is being zealous something to be frowned upon? I feel this article is divisive and does not allow church members a greater representation to explain what the church is actually about. The article began by saying rumors about the church were not substantiated, even by law enforcement, then went on to cite students who said they had a negative experience-encouraging vigilance. If the rumors were baseless, why were only negative experiences quoted? Were students who had positive experiences sought out? Were the people who met these students interviewed? This is not objective reporting. To speak to my case, I was the one who met Erich. I asked him if he had 5 minutes for a Bible study, he agreed. We studied for about 10. I showed him God the Mother in the Bible and emphasized the importance of being baptized correctly. Name one Christian church that wouldn’t do the same when studying with someone? Exactly. He was not forced to sit or stay and we EXCHANGED information, I didn’t just “concede” and give him my number. I have the number to prove it as well. I’m sorry if he felt like I was pushy, however, he said wow several times during the study and seemed taken aback by the clear testimony about Heavenly Mother. Unless he is a drama student and excellent at feigning interest, I would say he was happy to learn but anxious about not meeting his girlfriend which is why he told me had to leave. I left it at that but that failed to be cited in the article. Please do not judge someone else’s religion without thorough investigation and experience or extrapolate (and publish) a view point that is heavily biased. For anyone who is interested to learn about the Church of God and it’s beliefs. I would encourage further investigation at our website

  22. As a fellow student, I honestly disagree with the negative, rumor filled account of the World Mission Society Church of God members. I attended some of the Bible studies the members invited me to and it was a very positive experience for me. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but it is completely unfair to be branded by invalid rumors. The members were very polite to me and respectful. As a college student, it’s natural to be open-minded, so I listened to some Bible verses. I feel that is wrong to present rumors as fact. If I had such a negative view point before I spoke to the members, I may have closed my mind to learning something important and eye-opening.

  23. This is really sad that people are starting rumors such as this, which is 100% false. People should not listen to lies and gossip. It’s important in everything we do to check our sources and know the facts before we make our conclusion.
    The World Mission Society is a great organization that has recieved  prestigious awards from President Obama and the Queen of England for the members’ good services and sacrifice for  society. It is an international religious organization and has been around for over 50 years sharing true teachings of the Bible.
    If this rumor was true it would have definitely come to light a long time ago.
    We definitely are not trying to commit horrible acts such as sex trafficking and just want to share the Truth about God the Mother with people.

  24. Im not part of any religion or organization but i have knowledge about churches and history.
    The most pupular church in the world is the one who had comited more acts of sexual trafict,children abuse and even murdered million of people who were againts them during the dark ages.
    Im wondering if you (whoever wrote this article)
    Why do you dont make an article about the catholic church and interview some students who are agree with their doctrines and everything they had done?

    “There are none so blind as those who will not see”

  25. I’m really impressed with your writing skills
    and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you
    customize it yourself? Either way keep up the
    excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  26. I feel sorry and uncomfortable to hear this kind of groundless rumors being spread on campus. The World Mission Society Church of God has received so many recognitions throughout the world, including the Queen’s award for volunteer service and US president’s call to service award. How can we receive so many awards within 50 over years of establishment if we are involved in sex trafficking?
    I too was invited for bible study by WMSCOG members when I was a college student. I wasn’t pushed in any way. They only shared with me the good news in the Bible with bright smiles and sincerity which touched my heart. The message they shared with me was absolutely perfect and amazing too. Attending the WMSCOG is the best choice I have made in my life and I have never regretted it. It is the best church in its teaching and in its deeds. I feel sorry for people who thought as if something terrible might happen to them if they come for the Bible study. All we want to do is to share the love of God with people. We hope we can be more responsible for the things we post online because it has a great impact on people’s perspective. I’m posting this comment hoping that no one’s perceptions towards the Church of God would be affected by such rumors which are absolutely false.

  27. While I appreciate the continued clarification against false sex-trafficking accusations, I was a little surprised as to where the article led to afterwards. I was invited to Bible study with the World Mission Society Church of God while studying at my university a few years back. While the women who spoke with me were earnest and certainly wanted to convey their message, they were never aggressive nor overly assertive. I’ve had people be way more pushy to try and sell me lotion or hair products in the mall! These people are just earnest about their beliefs, and maybe it’s worth listening to them rather than to judge them immediately.
    Out of curiosity, has the author of this article ever even been to the church to see the other side of the story?

  28. These comments do not help disprove the rumor that this church is cult-like lol

    • My feelings exactly. This is discusting to pose as a “disciple of God” and lead young vulnerable ppl away from the truth. False prophets, cultists or dangerous people, are certainly not doing God’s work. I’ve never heard of christians imposing fear and deep uneasiness, especially when students on campuses have a high tolerance for weird. This phenomenon /recruiting has spread to many cities of the world (notably Ottawa). And need to be shut down.

  29. I’ve been a member of the World Mission Society Church of God for the past seven years and I have never seen sex trafficking because it does not happens in our church. Church of God promotes unity, love and respect thru the teachings of Christ. This article is entirely false. Maybe there are people who don’t like to be asked about God but it’s not correct to make these allegations.

    World Mission Society church of God has received many awards such as U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award from Barack Obama and the U.K. Queen’s award for Volunteer service from Queen Elizabeth II due to our volunteer work in the community.

    I hope people can look past negative comments and thoughts and they can come and experience themselves the love of God and the true prophesies being fulfilled through the bible.


    This is an article from the experience of the students in New Jersey. The Internet has created this firestorm across other campuses and now is affecting the lives of other students. As a result, they are wrongly being mistreated because of this false accusation. The World Mission Society Church of God is a very well known organization around the world and has even been in the BOSTON area since the early 2000s. In the past, werent any problems. The church has been in the area for over a decade helping the community and local residents however, now its treated as something foreign and unfamiliar. That in its onself is astonishing.

    Please share the link below on how the World Mission SOCIETY Church of God helps not only its local communities but the world

    Even this past December , WMSCOG in Boston cleaned Jackson square and was featured on Fox25!

    Therefore, for the lives of the people who are trying to actually help the community and bring peace to the world by delivering the message of love and unity through the Bible. Please help stop “fake news” and actually help our police officers and local authorities find the real danger out there as well as keep the lives of the members of the World MISSION Society Church of God safe. This story has been eradicated and shown to be false. Out of 3 students featured here we have 1000s others who would glady write how lovely their experience is at the World Mission Society Church of God. Therefore let us work together to and bring harmony to our community by spreading the good news and work that the church has completed all over the world.

  31. “cult cult cult”…what is a “cult”by the way?
    WHO makes the standar to difine a cult?
    Any “Cult” degree at BU?

  32. I would like to assure anyone who is reading this that they would be doing themselves a terrible disservice to take seriously any of these vicious and false accusations against the Church of God.
    Individuals and organizations deemed criminal are done so by laws and authorities. This can. NOT be done so by outsiders who simply have access to internet and a slanderous will to corrupt what is pure and good- such as an invitation to attend Bible study.
    It is important to understand that “fake news” is a REAL thing. In this information driven age we are living in, individuals have to feel urgency to protect their right to know truth from falsehood. My wish is that you take the opportunity to clear your mind of misunderstandings and that you find out for yourself what is the true driving force that allows for the Church of God to thrive where other faith based organizations flop.
    Next chance you get, I encourage you listen to the hearts of people who only want to deliver the love of God. Real life people, myself included, who attend the World Mission Society Church of God can verify what is really going on.

  33. If there is no truth to the allegations, then there shouldn’t be any concern; anyone annoyed or pushy about their religion should be ashamed at the very least. It gives your church a bad name.

  34. I attended this church in 2009 for a few months and got out because I just felt uncomfortable. The church is cult like because they like to target young people who are vulnerable and then they instill fear in them saying “the world is ending,” “we need to keep the Sabbath because that’s the only way we will go to heaven,” and etc. Some church members will try to convince you to go to church every day and study the Bible to get closer to God. By this, someone will forget their daily routine such as being with family, being with friends, go to work, go to school and etc. I’ve seen it break families, friendships, and their lifestyle. I still get approached by some members in several places but I always rejected them.