Godwin, N.C. — A Triangle man said Friday that an alleged child slavery ring in Cumberland County could have been shut down a decade ago.

Ten people have been charged in connection with what authorities have described as an “alternative religious group” that forced children as young as 9 years old to work for little or no money in the fish markets and grills they use to finance their operations.

John McCollum, the leader of the group, Brenda Joyce Hall, Cornelia McDonald, Pamela Puga Luna, Irish Williams, Kassia Rogers, Shirnitka McNatt and Shirley McNatt have been charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, involuntary servitude of a minor, obtaining property by false pretense and conspiracy. Daffene Edge and Earlene Hayat are wanted on the same charges.

John McCollum, Brenda Hall, Godwin cultCornelia McDonald, Pamela Puga Luna, Godwin cult

The group lives in a collection of mobile homes and buildings off U.S. Highway 301 in Godwin known locally as McCollum Ranch. They operate at least three John C’s Fish Markets and mobile grills in the Fayetteville area and one in Lumberton, authorities said.

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