Pictured above: "The Hole", a private prison run by the members of Scientology. This facility in Riverside, California, recently came to light thanks to an expose book by Lawrence Wright. A full story on the writing of this work is here. To quote:
"Wright’s investigations into “The Hole,” a hidden Scientology gulag in southern California where errant Church members are sent to perform menial tasks and take part in 'orgies of self-abasement,' led him to break the story of an FBI investigation—since aborted—into human trafficking."
There are also more detailed descriptions of The Hole activities at the Wikipedia page. It basically sounds like a concentration camp straight out of the Holocaust or Khmer Rouge.
The child labor camp in Australia
Here is an Australian news magazine special on the "RPF", the Rehabilitation Project Force, a sprawling complex in the middle of an Australian suburb.
In 2008, a young girl in France who was reportedly happy beforehand voluntarily took a personality test handed out by the church of Scientology. When she got the results, they apparently devastated her and she committed suicide, leaping to her death. Some speculation has had it that the church's method of tearing people down to convince them that they'll need the church in their lives had some bearing here.
In fact, all of the above stories have the theme of "disconnection" in common, the act of severing all ties with the world outside the church, be they family, friends, or professional. This is a practice in common throughout all cults and attempts at brainwashing.
Meanwhile, this column in Esquire cautions us that none of us should be too smug; given a weak enough moment, any one of us could be sucked into Scientology.
I close with a plea: We're all more aware about the cult of Scientology and what a nasty mental virus it is - our awareness of it is growing by the day. That's a good thing. But what OTHER things could we be seeing grow more prominent today that could turn into tomorrow's cult? We should be looking at those things, too.