The early beginnings of the anti-religious movement in the United States, and its violent history and eventual downfall, have been extensively documented in other writings and will not be repeated here.
Information can be found at:
However, the nexus between the American and the European movements, and the planning and training sessions that occurred in the United States resulting in the exportation of the “deprogramming” techniques to European nations may not be so well known.
European members of anti-religious hate groups were trained in techniques of “deprogramming” by an American group, the American Family Foundation. According to a newsletter from the now-defunct Cult Awareness Network, Joseph Jansa from Pro-Juventud, a psychiatrist and a social worker by the name of Enrique Sagues traveled to the U.S. and spent three months there in 1985 getting trained in these techniques by members of AFF (Jolly West and Lorna and Bill Goldberg). Dr. Jansa was one of the attendees of the April 1999 FECRIS conference in Paris.
Perhaps Pro-Juventud was attempting to learn more “successful” deprogramming methods from the Americans due to a disaster the previous year. In 1984, six members of the group Centro Esoterico de Investigaciones were brought to a hotel in Barcelona by the Catalan police, where they were held for 10 days during a forced deprogramming by members of the anti-religious group Pro-Juventud (now known as AIS, Assessment and Information about Sects). These six individuals were taken to a hotel outside of Barcelona where the windows were locked and they were held against their will.
Ten days later, the victims filed a complaint for illegal detention and other crimes against Pro-Juventud and the Catalan authorities. Although the Provincial Court and Appeals court exculpated the defendants, the case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights in Strassbourg. The European Court of Human Rights condemned Spain for violation of the right to freedom, and the six complainants will receive from the Spanish government 250,000 ptas each for moral damages and together 500,000 ptas for legal costs. (Article in Spanish. Translation page 1, page 2)
Rosa Boladeros, a vice-president of FECRIS, has been with Pro-Juventud since its inception in the late 1970s and is still a voting member of the Barcelona Pro-Juventud group.
Another deprogramming victim filed a penal complaint against Pro-Juventud in Bilbao for a kidnapping and attempted deprogramming in September 1998. She managed to escape from her captors by pretending to be cooperative and then running away while they were asleep. An article in “El Diario Vasco” describing the kidnapping named one of the Pro-Juventud members involved – Enrique Sagues, the social worker who had traveled to the U.S. in 1985 to be trained by AFF in deprogramming techniques. (Article Translated)
Pro-Juventud is listed by the AFF as an overseas resource organization.
Similar to the Spanish deprogrammers who were trained by AFF, a “cult expert” in Russia, Yevgeny Volkov, traveled to the United States in May 1999 to learn from the Americans. Reportedly he met with an AFF member, Carol Giambalvo, to learn about the deprogramming techniques devised in the U.S.