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Mag Crews - Legal Child Enslavement - When They Knock on Your Door.

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posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 12:58 AM
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Have you ever had eager young kids come to your door and ask you to buy a magazine subscription? Were they overly friendly while they tried to persuade you, and then turned into monsters when you said no? Maybe it was to help them get an education, or help them win a trip. Well...... up until about an hour ago I had no idea what a "Mag Crew" was, and I was most certainly not aware of it's very dark and insidious side.

It was approximately 9:00PM when I heard a heavy knock on my door. I wasn't expecting anyone this late, so I rushed to the door to find out who it might be. I didn't have a good feeling about it, but I cracked the door open anyway and saw a young lady of about 16 to 18 years old standing in front. She put on her best smile and started with the spiel. She's selling magazine subscriptions in order to win a contest to go to some island getaway. She says that if I want to come with her, her suitcase is big enough to fit me right in. She has far too much energy and she smiles so wide, her face is about to split. I tell her "Sorry, not interested." She says "Aww, really? Sorry is so boring", but I say "no thank you" again and close the door.

There are a few things wrong with this picture.

A.) It's 9:00PM. Who sells magazines at this hour???
B.) She's way too energetic and a little young to be selling anything, especially that late.
C.) She had pronounced acne, the type you see on methamphetamine addicts. You can tell because they like to scratch themselves until parts of their faces bleed. It's a shame, because she was quite pretty otherwise.

This encounter peaked my curiosity. I've seen more of these kids selling magazines door to door, but I never researched where the hell they come from. Here's what I found:

For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews


Two days after graduating from high school last June, Jonathan Pope left his home in Miamisburg, Ohio, to join a traveling magazine sales crew, thinking he would get to “talk to people, party at night and see the country.”

Over the next six months, he and about 20 other crew members crossed 10 states, peddling subscriptions door to door, 10 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Sleeping three to a room in cheap motels, lowest seller on the floor, they survived some days on less than $10 in food money while their earnings were kept “on the books” for later payment.

By then, Mr. Pope said, he had seen several friends severely beaten by managers, he and several other crew members were regularly smoking methamphetamine with prostitutes living down the motel hallway, and there were warrants out for his arrest in five states for selling subscriptions without a permit.


Essentially these Mag Crews are managed by adults who treat these kids like slaves. It's a legal form of child slavery, because there are no laws against it as long as they have permits. Most of them don't have permits, and so end up having warrants out for their arrest across many different states.


“The stories about life on crew you hear from these kids are almost unbelievable,” said Officer George Dahl of the Louisville, Ky., Metro Police Department, who estimated that his department had cited or arrested more than 70 sellers for assault, unlawful solicitation or drug possession in the last two years. “But you get them alone and start hearing the same sort of thing over and over from different crews and you start believing them.” In Collinsville, Ill., Daniel Burrus scrolled through digital photographs of bloodied faces as he described how, on a crew he helped manage for several years, men who missed their sales quota were forced to fight each other.


So, there you have it. I've never seen or heard anyone discussing these Mag Crews, but it seems to me like this is a huge problem.

Onto the next issue. Who hires these Mag Crews??? According to the article, magazines such as Rollingstone and Reader's Digest hire Clearinghouses to sell subscriptions, and the Clearinghouses hire these Mag Crews to go door to door to sell these magazines.


Rolling Stone declined to comment. A representative for the Hearst Corporation said that in recent years it had stopped hiring clearinghouses that use crews. But when subsequently asked why Redbook, a Hearst publication, appears among magazines sold by one crew, a Hearst representative e-mailed, “We constantly fight unauthorized agents,” adding, “It’s an ongoing battle.” Generally, the clearinghouses get about 40 percent of the subscription money and the publishers about 10 percent. The crew leaders get the other 50 percent, out of which they pay all expenses on the road, including the sellers’ commissions. “Nobody is forced or pushed to do anything,” said Tim Peek, manager and recruiter for New Generation, a crew based in Vero Beach, Fla.


One girl goes on to tell her horror story from her days on the Mag Crew:


“I know it sounds crazy,” Ms. Steele said. “But I believed my manager when he said he would never let that happen again, and I believed him when he said my mom had told him she didn’t care about me.” In January 2006, Ms. Steele left her crew and was placed in the witness protection program during an investigation of her former managers, who were accused in the beating and kidnapping at gunpoint of her boyfriend from a city bus, an incident that was caught on videotape and led to the conviction of one person for kidnapping for ransom and assault with a deadly weapon.


Now... what can YOU do to help? Here's a suggestion:


Ms. Williams, from Parent Watch, said her organization advised customers not to buy from the sellers or to let them in the house, but to offer them a phone to call home or her organization’s phone number to help anyone who might want to arrange a bus ticket home. She said her organization had lobbied for legislation to prevent sellers from being categorized as independent contractors and to provide them with minimum wage and safety and health protections.


The link to their website is the following: ParentWatch.org
If you have any of these kids come to your door, please do as instructed and offer these kids a phone to call home, or if you're not comfortable handing them valuables, ask them if there is a number you can call for them. These kids are being taken advantage of and physically abused by their handlers.

I know the article says they only hire people 18 and up, but I know for a fact that they employ even younger children, we're talking 12 to 13 year olds, having them go door to door pretending that they're selling for their school. I know, because I was ripped off by one of them. All the signs were there, but I ignored my instincts. These handlers are ruthless and they prey on weakness. Let's put a stop to this!


edit on 27-10-2011 by 2manyquestions because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 01:08 AM
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Well that explains a lot! Good to know, if I run across another young salesperson I will be sure to ask if I can call someone to get them home. This is absolutely disturbing.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 01:11 AM
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Interesting, I have experienced young "flirty" women at my door. I respond like I always respond (not always, sometimes I've been had ...never at my door though)). A flirty young woman at my door does not make me "desire sex", she makes we worry why she would come to "MY" door looking for sex.
I've always dismissed the sexy young flirty girls as a sales ploy. Eh', I can deal with that. I've seen worse.
edit on 10/27/2011 by FrenchOsage because: leave one world out and you lose the world



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 01:15 AM
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My best friend's older brother did this if I'm remembering what she told me right.

Apparently he was in the same situation, but long story short, he too had a bunch of warrants out for the same reason, and then somehow ended up in Brazil for like 5 months...

I'll have to ask her about it again to get the full story. But yeah from what he's told me those people are evil.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 01:29 AM
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reply to post by ArrowsNV
 


I'd love for you to share the story if you ever get a chance. In the meantime, I found another article detailing the story of one girl who was trapped in a Mag Crew: What Mainstream Publishers Don't Want You to Know About Door-to-Door Magazine Sales


While mainstream publishers and their trade group, the Magazine Publishers Association, say door-to-door sales account for a minuscule percentage of annual sales, this seemingly small percentage still translates into millions. It's profitable enough to publishers like Condé Nast, Reader's Digest and others that they still consider door-to-door sales a worthwhile venture in the 21st century. And without publishers' participation, the industry would cease to exist. Which means, quite simply, that publishers have decided the collateral damage is worth the boost in circulation.


Here's just another example of a corporation who values profit over human lives:


If the magazine sells 100 pages of advertising per issue, then the total value of the 50,000 jump would be $250,000 per issue. ($2,500 per page x 100 pages). If the magazine runs 24 issues a year, that's 24 x $250,000 — $6 million, from an extra 50,000 copies. That's enough incentive to keep using sales agents. Of course, publishers don't want to be linked to any of the kids knocking on the doors, so the system has been arranged to keep everyone at arm's length. It works like this: Agents knocking on doors turn their sales receipts in to their managers, who send them off to clearinghouses. A clearinghouse submits the subscription orders to the publishers, who then mail out the magazines. The clearinghouses choose which traveling sales crew companies to work with; the heads of those companies usually have their managers do the hiring. This arrangement allows the publishers, clearinghouses and road crew company heads to pretend they have nothing to do with the kids pushing the publishers' product.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 02:28 AM
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I called about a job when I was around 18, as I wanted to know exactly what it entailed. The ad was relatively vague, and the man I talked to on the phone was very vague also. I had agreed to meet with him later that afternoon, but after talking it over with a friend I decided against going.

This guy calls me back and tries to make me feel guilty and come to his office. He seemed very desperate for "employees," and I was a bit confused. I wonder if that was something similar to this? Maybe that is how they recruit people...I wouldn't doubt it.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by JiggyPotamus
 


It's a possibility that it might have been something of the sort. These people are VERY nice when they try to get you on board of whatever they're selling, but when you say no, they turn on you. It's like Jekyll and Hyde. They promise you hundreds of dollars per week, but what they don't tell you is that they won't give you the money, they'll hold it for you for a certain amount of time. So... even if you sell a lot, you're probably not going to see the money anytime soon. With all the traveling and the expense of staying in certain places, these handlers deduct the cost from these kids salary. Some of them end up in debt to their handlers instead of making any money at all.

edit on 27-10-2011 by 2manyquestions because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 10:11 AM
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I did something similiar for about 2 weeks when I was a kid, you went door to door selling this product (think it was chocolate, I dont remember), you'd walk for HOURS going door to door trying to sell this stuff, which was outrageously expensive, and got a measly 2.00 or so per box sold. We would be out til about 8 or 9 everynight (school nights), and made almost NOTHING in return. Needless to say I quit.
Its all a scam.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 10:25 AM
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I had to sell chocolate once in elementary school.

I figured since I never signed a contract or anything that the whole deal was bunk.

I took my chocolate and my friends and I all ate them.

Soooo much chocolate.

Then when it came time to turn in our envelopes they asked me what happened and I said "I dont to know" and that was the last I heard about it.

Idiots want to give me a product without any binding contract, guarantee or insurance this is what they get.

Arent our property taxes painfully high so kids wouldnt have to pimp cocoa around town in the first place?



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 10:34 AM
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I'd never heard of Mag Crews before and I'd like to thank you for the information you provided.

I may have fallen for this scheme when I was nineteen and living in my first apartment. It was later in the evening when a teenage guy and girl came to my door selling magazines. They told me that they were trying to win a trip. I guess I fell for it since I was in college at the time and knew of certain clubs that were doing things to win trips. These two were saying they were from a high school though.
I did consent to purchasing two magazine subscriptions.
Well, they never did arrive. I tried calling the number they gave me, but nobody ever answered and the website for the company was a shell. It was all just a complete scam.
I learned my lesson though and will never ever buy anything from someone selling me at my door again.
Unless I know the kids or their parents, nobody is going to con me into buying anything again.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 10:56 AM
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A bullet is too good for the people who organise this scam. You would think this can't happen in a civilised country. Obviously I don't live in a civilised country.

Thank you for this thread. I was completely unaware of this but now that I'm informed I can do something if I encounter these poor kids.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:11 AM
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reply to post by 2manyquestions
 


My husband told me about a month ago that he allowed his granddaughter to get on a bus from Louisiana to California to do one of these jobs. She might have been who ended up at your door.

When at first he told me she was going to California, he did not specify what the job was, this was before she got on the bus to do so. After she left, he told me it was to do door to door magazine sales, to which I replied that I wish he had told me this before she left. This is a well known scam.

He just replied, "oh well, she's 18."

He must have told her what I said and done some research for himself, because by the time the bus made it to Phoenix, she was already on the phone to him crying, and begging for a bus ticket back home. He said he would not supply one for her, that it was her decision to go and would be a learning experience for her.

A lot of these kids end up getting stranded when they do not meet quotas, or they are denied daily living expenses, etc.....

These comapanies need to be shut down!



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by Afterthought
I'd never heard of Mag Crews before and I'd like to thank you for the information you provided.

I may have fallen for this scheme when I was nineteen and living in my first apartment. It was later in the evening when a teenage guy and girl came to my door selling magazines. They told me that they were trying to win a trip. I guess I fell for it since I was in college at the time and knew of certain clubs that were doing things to win trips. These two were saying they were from a high school though.
I did consent to purchasing two magazine subscriptions.
Well, they never did arrive. I tried calling the number they gave me, but nobody ever answered and the website for the company was a shell. It was all just a complete scam.
I learned my lesson though and will never ever buy anything from someone selling me at my door again.
Unless I know the kids or their parents, nobody is going to con me into buying anything again.


Thinking back, I almost fell for it in College too. It was on campus during the day. It was a creepy older guy (in his 50's) dressed in a sweat suit. He also had a group of younger kids with him, but they were busy selling subscriptions a few yards away. He approached me and asked if I was interested in buying a magazine subscription to help him win a trip. He was trying to be super-sweet, but all I got was creepiness. Stupidly I agreed to purchase a subscription, but then at the last minute changed my mind. He had already written down my name and address, so when I asked him to remove me from the list, he became very irate. His facial expression became twisted and he said "But you said you wanted to buy it. We accept all forms of payment." I told him "I'm sorry, but I changed my mind." "Great, you're going to ruin my chances of winning" he said. If looks could kill I would have been incinerated. He did erase me from his board, but I'll never forget how weird it made me feel. I guess Colleges are easy targets for them. You have naive college students with credit cards or checking accounts and they're just itching to spend the money or do something "good".



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by supine
reply to post by 2manyquestions
 


My husband told me about a month ago that he allowed his granddaughter to get on a bus from Louisiana to California to do one of these jobs. She might have been who ended up at your door.

When at first he told me she was going to California, he did not specify what the job was, this was before she got on the bus to do so. After she left, he told me it was to do door to door magazine sales, to which I replied that I wish he had told me this before she left. This is a well known scam.

He just replied, "oh well, she's 18."

He must have told her what I said and done some research for himself, because by the time the bus made it to Phoenix, she was already on the phone to him crying, and begging for a bus ticket back home. He said he would not supply one for her, that it was her decision to go and would be a learning experience for her.

A lot of these kids end up getting stranded when they do not meet quotas, or they are denied daily living expenses, etc.....

These comapanies need to be shut down!




This girl was maybe 5 foot 6 or 5 foot 7. She had blonde straight hair that reached down below her shoulders. She was fairly thin/petite. Does this sound like his granddaughter?

Your husband should have bought her a ticket home. Who knows what kind of painful experience she might be going through. Maybe he should read through these articles so that the next time he receives a phone call, he will do the right thing. These kids are naive. They have NO idea what they're getting themselves into. They are lied to, so whatever it is they think they'll be doing for a job is not the truth. As adults we have to make sure they understand that these dangers exist. Up until last night I had NO clue this sort of thing even existed. I thought these kids were doing it of their own free will. I thought that when they're done selling these around the neighborhood for one night, they go right back home to their parents. Not so. We're talking beatings, rape, and a multitude of other offenses against young kids and young adults who were hoodwinked by these criminals.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by 2manyquestions
 


My daughter bought some subscriptions for me while she was attending college as a birthday gift one year. She felt sorry for the person who ended up at her door.

Anyway this is when I started researching these magazine rippoff artists. My daughter had arranged for 3 subscriptions for me, and I only recieved one of them. When I called about the others, I was told that the magazines I did not get did not use this service for subscriptions.

It really opened my eyes and got me searching for answers. Especially since my daughter was basically out her hard earned money for 2 subscriptions.

This type of business is very seedy at best, and they do hire convicts, and low lifes in general who are desparate for employment no questions asked.

This company type is a good reason to put a no solicitation sticker on your door!



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:23 AM
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I almost fell for it in my first apartment too, actually. This young man came to the door saying he was trying to sell them to get a scholarship of some kind, I was fresh out on my own and felt his pain because I was in college too. I did not have any cash or checks with me right then or I would have bought it.

There was another time when a young couple came to the door. It started with just magazine sales, but then it turned into "Well we don't have money for gas or food..." they seemed legitimately desperate, so I invited them in (like an idiot) and shared some food with them. They tried to sell me on the magazine again and I said no, then they got incredibly pushy about it and just demanded money from me. I lost it on these people, I said "How dare you come to my door asking me to buy something, then when I refuse asking for gas and food. I've done all I can and given you food, and now you demand money again? Get out of my house or I will call the cops" .
They left at first mention of the cops as I had my phone in my hand. I locked the door behind them and cursed myself for being an absolute IDIOT and vowed never to do anything like that again. Incredible.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:32 AM
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reply to post by supine
 


The biggest problem I see is that these people take perfectly good kids and ruin them through abuse, introduction to hard drugs, and giving them criminal records by forcing them to sell without permits. I agree with you that there are a lot of "low-lives" pedaling these subscriptions, but the biggest problem of all is this enslavement of kids and young adults who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They are slowly turned into low-lives by the criminals who practically hold them hostage and keep them from earning any money... which makes it almost impossible for them to make it back home again. It's a very destructive existence.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by 2manyquestions

This girl was maybe 5 foot 6 or 5 foot 7. She had blonde straight hair that reached down below her shoulders. She was fairly thin/petite. Does this sound like his granddaughter?


Yes, that describes her well. Blue eyes, and if she had any sort of southern drawl.......


Your husband should have bought her a ticket home. Who knows what kind of painful experience she might be going through. Maybe he should read through these articles so that the next time he receives a phone call, he will do the right thing.


He is sick and tired of this kid, really. She has been in a lot of trouble since before she became a teenager. So, rather than deal with her and her problems, he let her go. While I worry children who do these sorts of jobs that are not aware, this girl is the flip side of the coin.

Actually, in the back of my mind, I am thinking that I am more in fear for homeowners who buy her smile and open the door and their wallets to her!


These kids are naive. They have NO idea what they're getting themselves into. They are lied to, so whatever it is they think they'll be doing for a job is not the truth. As adults we have to make sure they understand that these dangers exist. Up until last night I had NO clue this sort of thing even existed. I thought these kids were doing it of their own free will. I thought that when they're done selling these around the neighborhood for one night, they go right back home to their parents. Not so. We're talking beatings, rape, and a multitude of other offenses against young kids and young adults who were hoodwinked by these criminals.


The only reason this girl was crying was because she found out to late that she wouldn't be able to scam her own way through this one. I feel sorry for any innocent kids that have to share a room with, or work with this girl. Anything of value they might have, will be gone! This girl is dangerous!

I would like to point out that not all the kids are innocent, even if they don't know up front what they are getting themselves into.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:39 AM
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reply to post by supine
 


I didn't notice a Southern Drawl, but then again she was a very fast talker and it didn't take me long to close the door once I figured out what she wanted.

I understand where you're coming from. You're right in that not all of these kids are innocent. Some of them are down-right trouble. Some articles mention theft, rape, even death for those who open their doors to them. Some of these people enjoy the work, because they're not in one place for very long, which means it's easy to evade the police. They live out of vans and motels.

It's too bad about your husband's granddaughter. I'm sure that she wasn't always a bad person. There must have been some wrong turn in her life that set her on this path of deceit and manipulation.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by 2manyquestions

It's too bad about your husband's granddaughter. I'm sure that she wasn't always a bad person. There must have been some wrong turn in her life that set her on this path of deceit and manipulation.


Well, he has a lot to do with how she is........all I can tell you is that we are separated in part due to his lack of parenting skills, our arguing about it, and my being a victim of this girl.

So, just another warning, that a LOT of kids who end up doing this sort of job may also be doing it because they come from an unstable home environment as well.

It's heartbreaking to see these kids taken advantage of no matter which way you want to look at it.





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