Police warn, if you see a ‘help wanted’ sign with just a phone number, stay away


In this rough economy, most people are willing to try just about anything to make a buck. Whether it be Kijiji, Craig’s List, or the good ol’ Help Wanted signs, there are often some pretty enticing advertisements…

Make a bazillion dollars traveling the world! Set up an interview today!

Summer work, no experience necessary. $17.25/hr to start. Text for info.

Source: City of Vassar/Facebook

While offers like these are usually indicative of some sort of scam, nowadays they also represent something much more dangerous: a way for human traffickers to lure their victims.

Danielle Thompson from Wichita, Kansas, has recently gone viral after posting pictures of advertisements used by human traffickers, and urging people to be cautious.

“Be cautious of any sign offering only a number,” she writes.

“Online ads geared at part time travel and babysitting work, or make some quick cash just send two photos. [Traffickers] use every bit of info you give them to target you or your children.”

“Many are enticing young people to make extra cash, so please if you or your teenagers are looking for work, advise them to be extremely cautious and teach them how to define the red flags.”

Source: Danielle Thompson/Facebook

In June of this year, these kinds of vague, enticing job advertisements were posted around Vassar High School in Michigan.

The Vassar Police Department immediately stated they “discourage anyone from contacting businesses or person’s who advertise for ‘help wanted’ in this fashion.”

Source: Danielle Thompson/Facebook

Valerie Hoffman, executive director of Underground Railroad, Inc., tells ABC12, “[this method] is another avenue that traffickers use to recruit people into their world.”

While she does admit these signs may be pointing towards sex trafficking, she believes that labor trafficking is the likeliest scenario.

The National Human Trafficking Center (via ABC12) says these types of signs have been linked to the agricultural industry, begging rings, traveling sales crews, landscaping services, and hospitality.

ABC12 describes labor traffickers as “companies who employ individuals ‘under the table’, and offer wages and bonuses for unobtainable goals set for the employee. The promised wage or bonus is rarely paid, and employees are left with little or no recourse.”

Source: Danielle Thompson/Facebook

Human traffickers often post signs targeting minors. They usually post them around high schools specifically stating “no experience necessary”.

Common ‘jobs’ offered by traffickers include:

  • Babysitting
  • Modeling
  • Farm work
  • Carnival or circus work
  • Door-to-door sales

Over 20.9 million people worldwide have been the victims of human trafficking.

Don’t let it happen to you.

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