Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When Human Trafficking shows up on your door step...

Hi my friends,

Please share this post with as many people as you can. Please read this and read some of the links. The more knowledge we have the better we can help kids like these. And please never ever let your kid join one of these crews. Just remember, If this was your kid... Wouldn't you want someone to look out for their welfare? 

    There was a knock on the door and I saw the silhouettes of two kids standing out there. I opened the door to their friendly greeting and shook hands with them. The girl immediately went into her up-beat speech on the contest she was in trying to sell magazines for earning points towards a European trip. I chatted with the two kids about the contest because frankly it sounded a bit off. 

She handed me her pamphlet and as I scanned through the actual magazine selections I found I could not find a website or number to call for the business. I decided to ask more about what they were doing and to ask where they were from.

She quickly explained that they were on a traveling sales crew.

Wait… What? Traveling Sales crew? These kids were young. I mean the girl looked anywhere between 14-16 and the boy looked somewhere between 11-13 years old. 

Who lets their kids travel from state to state selling magazines with a company? My parent radar was going off...

“So where have you two been so far?”

There was a moment’s pause as they glanced nervously at each other. The boy finally chimed in revealing how they had been to Indiana and were heading to Ohio soon after their stint in Michigan was over. The girl then chimed in and gave an upbeat spin on how this was an adventure and great opportunity for them to see different areas.

I asked them if they were doing this for just the summer and they quickly dodged the question, instead, telling me more about their dreams of winning the competition with bright smiles on their faces. 

She even asked me if she was doing a good job with her speech because she wanted to work on her public speaking and better herself. I smiled and gave her some encouragement, but something wasn’t right…

My internal "scam" radar had been sounding off for a while now. What was worse though was my concern for these young teens. Too many things were not adding up.

I did not purchase a magazine with them, but as they left I immediately hopped online to try and find the company while calling two more neighbors to see if they would slow the kids down and ask more questions to find out as much as we could about their situation. I could not find the company, but what I did find caused me to call the Human Trafficking hotline immediately.

They immediately instructed me to call the police requesting a welfare check for the kids.

From there it was a tag team effort with another neighbor to talk with the kids and slow them down, but soon after my call their pick-up vehicle arrived. 

My neighbor asked the driver for identification or papers for the company they represented, but she grew angry and refused while quickly herding the kids into the SUV and rushing out our the subdivision.

My neighbor quickly shot a picture of the vehicle and license plate. A minute later the police arrived and we quickly relayed the information to them. 

One officer left in pursuit and after finishing with the first officer I left to check-in with the other neighbors to whom the kids had been seen speaking to.


I am so heartbroken my friends and this is why…   

Most traveling magazine sales crews are a scam. This was obvious to me and my neighbors. Their talk was good, they were clean cut, and sweet faced kids, but the lack of a website and contact number for the company tipped most of us off. The outlandish prices deterred the rest.
My deep issue with this scam is that it involved two under age kids. After researching the articles and information on Traveling Sales Crews and learning about the way they operate it was beyond disturbing.

Hopeful kids signing up for a job promising great pay, adventure, and fun, that may leave them as little more than indentured servants.

Ads similar to this one lure students to call...

Some of these crew managers hook them on drugs and alcohol. They refuse to pay them. They may even beat and abuse them when their sales fall short. There are multiple reports of rape and molestation and quite a few of these kids, as well as, adults are listed as missing people. Some have even been killed.

To put it simply my friends, 
it was 
Human Trafficking 
showing up on my door step. 

These stories have been covered by news groups such as NY Times, ABC, FoxNews, NBC, and more...

So no, I have not lost my mind.

Most of all, please, the next time one of these kids from a traveling sales group shows up at your door do not purchase from them unless you know the student. 
If you do not know them and they appear under eighteen then call the police and ask for a welfare check for them. (Or follow the BBB's guides and suggestions below.) If they look older ask for their solicitors license and if they refuse to show it call the police.

Here are some quick suggestions from the Better Business Bureau

Please don't hesitate to call the National Human Trafficking line they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at:


This guy captures one of their typical sales pitches on video. This kid's pitch was very close to the young girl who came to our door. (To watch a pitch click here.)

This site shares stories from teens and young adults that have escaped the traveling magazine crew lifestyle. (Click Here)

Here is the deal. If this was your kid... Wouldn't you want someone to look out for their welfare? 

This quick thinking lawyer in Wisconsin did just that.(Click Here

Again, I ask for you to share this post with your friends, family, facebook, twitter, and get the word out. Sadly, some of the smaller police forces do not know about this form of child exploitation and trafficking. This can slow down the process when they do not take it seriously.

Please help get the word out to your community and maybe just maybe, we can save a few people from being scammed, but more importantly save some kids as well.

As a friend of mine pointed out. " If these were my kids, I would hope to God, someone out there would go the extra mile to make sure they were okay."