A CBC podcast series released earlier this month takes a deep dive into the world of NXIVM, a self-help group that allegedly branched out into sex-trafficking sub-groups; its founder; and one ex-member at the centre of its unraveling who happens to also be a Vancouverite.
Uncover: Escaping NXIVM (Apple podcasts) follows the case against the group (pronounced "nexium") and the involvement of Sarah Edmondson, a Vancouver resident who spent 12 years ascending the ranks in the group, which strikes parallels to MLM schemes like Amway and organizations like Scientology.
Edmondson was part of a branch-off group that included Smallville actress Allison Mack. Edmondson was "branded" with a mark on her body during an enrolment ceremony, and was forced to be a "slave" to another member, as well as recruit "slaves" of her own to join the group. She also taught self-help workshops at NXIVM's downtown Vancouver ESP centre on Georgia Street.
The new podcast, which currently has seven episodes available for free download via CBC and other podcasting platforms, is hosted by Josh Bloch, who has known Edmondson since youth--prior to her joining NXIVM.
Bloch also explores the back story of the group's controversial founder, Keith Ranire, and speaks at length with his attorney; Ranire is currently incarcerated in New York, awaiting trial on multiple federal charges, including sex trafficking, money laundering, forced labor, and identity theft. More charges could be brought against Ranire--who goes by the name "the Vanguard"--Mack, and others.
Mack has most recently been accused of marrying a Vancouver-born actress, Nicki Clyne, in order to help Clyne stay in the U.S.
It's a complex web of personal beliefs, manipulation, betrayal, and legalities, and the new podcast is definitely worth a listen.