Kidnapped for Christ is a new documentary about an Evangelical reform school located in the Dominican Republic called “Escuela Caribe.” It seems to function as a boot camp for Evangelical teens whose parents believe them to be straying. It looks like the crew was allowed pretty much full access for making this film. We’ve heard horror stories about these places before, and the documentary seems to bear them out.
The film centers on the story of David, a straight-A student from Colorado who was sent to Escuela Caribe in May of 2006 after coming out to his parents as gay. Like many others, David was taken in the night without warning by a “transport service” and was never told where he was going or when he would be brought back home. While at Escuela Caribe, David had no way of communicating with any of his friends or family back home until the filmmakers arrived and he decided to ask them if they would smuggle out a letter that he had secretly written to his best friend. Once word got back to David’s community about what had happened to him, many people sprung to action and formed a plan to get him released. Getting David out of this school, however, turned out to be a much more difficult task than anyone had thought, and the trials they went through to get David released revealed just how far Escuela Caribe would go to prevent a student from leaving.
We are a group of former students who have reconnected through the Internet and wish to publicize our experiences with New Horizons Youth Ministries. We range in age from our teens to our 40s, and attended “The Program” between 1970 to 2005. New Horizons purports to help adolescents through “Christian milieu therapy” but in fact does more harm than good. Most of our complaints center on Escuela Caribe, the boot camp located in the Dominican Republic, where we witnessed and experienced physical and emotional abuse and had our communications to and from our families censored to keep us from divulging the truth. We are now free to do so, and hope to dissuade more parents from subjecting their children to the trauma we lived.