Monday, February 18, 2019

Traveling Sales Crews

A recent complaint filed with our office. 

"Subject : Another Kind Of Cult - Traveling Sales Crews

Your Message : My nephew got caught up in another sort of cult - the traveling sales crew. The young adults are often a bit adrift, no marketable job skills and they see an ad in a newspaper promising fun and big money if you join their "team."  These kids have to make a decision right away!  The team is leaving soon!  They get shipped off to some other part of the country where they know no-one.  They are never alone.  They have "sales meetings" every morning, lots of manipulation, threats, and coercion. If the kid doesn't sell enough sketchy home energy plans as in the case of my nephew, they will not be allowed to eat, or they will often get left behind thousands of miles from home.  The team leaders pocket the money and the kids only get a pittance and often go home with the same amount of nothing the started out with.  The brainwashing techniques are similar to what you shared in you video.  Amway and other personal selling pyramid schemes also take on a cult like feel as well."
 


In a report by the anti-trafficking charity Polaris, entitled "Knocking at Your Door: Labor Trafficking on Traveling Sales Crews provides an in-depth analysis of the factors that allow this crime to persist and encourages greater understanding of the extensive abuses within the industry.


”Cult-like tactics on Sales crews” It was a freaking cult! We lived with our co-workers who took every opportunity to end your contact with the outside world beyond your door-to-door ventures... We started every morning with JUICE [Join Us In Creating Excitement] chants, and were not allowed to drive our own cars to the work sites. When we came back after a long 8 hours of walking in dress shoes, we were not allowed to lean against the wall. I was once pulled to the side and told not to lean because it was a sign of weakness and it would bring the rest of the group down. The group was taught to ignore people who leaned or showed any ‘negative’ gestures." 


The report makes several recommendations, including:
  • Congress should amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in order to cover door-to-door sales,
  • The Federal Government should investigate abuses of the J-1 visa program
  • Law enforcement should pursue bad actors at the top of the sales network instead of focusing on crew members violating local anti-solicitation laws,
  • Service organizations should recognize crew members as victims of labor trafficking so they can receive support,
  • The publishing industry should ensure transparent business supply chains in their magazine sales, and
  • Consumers should use caution when buying magazines or other items from sales crews."


The F.A..C.T. Team 

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