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Traveling Youth Crews Performing Door-to-Door Sales–One of the Five Most Dangerous Jobs for Teens in the U.S.

The startling discovery of the remains of a long-missing 18-year-old girl, Jennifer Hammond, in October 2009, served as a painful reminder that traveling door-to-door sales jobs are very dangerous. A Littleton, Colorado native, Hammond had last been seen in 2009 in a mobile home park in Milton, New York. She failed to show up at a designated pick-up spot two hours later. A hunter found her remains in a forest in Saratoga County, New York six years later.

Parents should not allow their children to take a traveling sales job. The dangers are too great. Without parental supervision, teens are at too great a risk of being victimized. Traveling sales crew workers are typically asked to go to the doors of strangers and sometimes enter their homes—a very dangerous thing for a young person to do.

Under pressure and scrutiny from advocacy groups and state law enforcement entities, it appears that the traveling sales sector today rarely hires individuals under 18. However, in recent years, there have been isolated reports of minors–and more frequent reports of 18- to 21-year-olds–being hired.

Frequent crime reports involving traveling sales crews suggests that the environment they present is not a safe one for teen workers or young adults.

In March 2011, two men in Spartanburg County South Carolina called police and asked them to take them to jail because jail seemed like it would be better alternative than the traveling sales crew they were in. Vincent Mercento, 19, and Adam Bassi, 21, told police they needed to quit going door to door asking people to buy magazines. They said they were tired of being wet and selling magazines and tired of the abuse from the company that employed them which seemed “cult-like.” Their lives were so bad they thought jail would be better.

How Dangerous are Traveling Sales Crews?

In February 2011, Columbia County Georgia authorities arrested a traveling sales crew of 17 individuals for peddling without a license. Five of the arrestees had criminal records, including one individual on probation for child molestation, another with a conviction for statutory rape, and a third for not registering as a sex offender. Would you want your son or daughter to travel in such company?

All 17 individuals were crowded into one van. With vehicular accidents being one of the most common causes of death for young people, NCL urges teens not to accept any job like those on a traveling sales crew that involves driving long distances or for long periods of time.

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