Kidnapped for Christ follows the stories of several American teenagers who were taken from their homes and sent to an Evangelical Christian reform school known as Escuela Caribe located in the Dominican Republic. The school is run by Americans and is advertised as a "therapeutic Christian boarding school" whose mission is to "help struggling youth transform into healthy Christian adults." In reality, this school employed classic brainwashing techniques to break down and rebuild its students.
One such student was David, a gay teenager taken in the middle of the night to the Dominican Republic to be reprogrammed into a straight, born-again Christian. Once David's community found out what had happened to him, they formed a plan to bring him home on his 18th birthday. The struggles they faced to secure David's freedom revealed just how far Escuela Caribe would go to prevent their students from leaving.
This film addresses an issue that very few Americans are aware of, but that has impacted the lives of millions of adolescents and families for nearly half a century – the rise of inappropriate and abusive treatment in the troubled teen industry. All over the US and abroad, so-called therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps, and wilderness rehabilitation programs take in teenagers with a wide range of issues and use unsafe and often harmful tactics to reform them. Using political connections, religious affiliations, and substantial amounts of money, many such camps and schools have committed inappropriate and abusive acts behind their guarded walls for decades with impunity.
Few journalists or law enforcement agencies have investigated the considerable number of abuse allegations and even deaths arising from these types of programs. No one has been able to comprehensively document on film what goes on behind closed gates at any of these institutions – until now.
Kidnapped for Christ tells the stories of students who were sent to an institution that resembles countless others around the world, so that these teens may make people aware of the danger these programs pose to our youth.
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