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Human trafficking book sellers?

That’s just a rumor

There has been an issue going around lately involving traveling sales. Now, this issue has had officers throughout the area rushing to respond, supporting each other and protecting society. I’ve done a little checking and would like to help decrease the Facebook stories and the many rumors just a touch.

There have been several college-age students traveling around selling books. When these youth stop by a house, they ask a lot of invasive questions regarding your children. These are normally about how many kids you have, how old they are, male, female, if the neighbors have kids, etc. While these may not be illegal, I can understand how they would be upsetting. Add this to the aggressive tactics that are used by some of the students, and a person can become very concerned. The one who stopped at my residence was courteous enough to accept no, explain what she was doing, then move on when told to leave. However, I’ve spoken with others who haven’t had that nice of an experience, with salespersons being much more aggressive, trying to put their foot in the open door, etc.

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Chief Terry Cochran Cottonwood Police Department

Now add in the Facebook rumors that there are college-age students who are selling books and it’s a cover for human trafficking and you have a recipe for disaster. Folks, the Facebook human trafficking stories are false. It is a Facebook rumor that has spread like wildfire. One article that I researched put it very well stating that if your only news agency is Facebook, you’re missing quite a bit of information. This rumor, and the door-to-door book sales have been researched extensively by numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, and the agencies have come up with no support for the human trafficking rumor, and have validated that they are, in fact, college students selling books.

In no way am I saying that you should let anyone who stops at your door into your house with open arms. Never let anyone in that you do not know! I don’t let strangers walk into my house, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to do that. Be aware of who is around, help your neighbors by watching what’s going on, and most importantly, notify law enforcement and be involved with your community.

Folks, in this incident, the college students selling books, are selling books. Some are rude, many questions may be invasive, but, they are only selling books, not taking kids. If someone comes to your door, and you don’t want them there, tell them to leave, and if you don’t want salesmen around, tell them to leave. If they refuse, call law enforcement and we can assist you.

And, to assist with this, Cottonwood has just passed an ordinance on door-to-door sales. They must register with city hall if they want to go door to door, with a few exceptions, and the hours are limited. Most importantly, if you live within the city you can be added to a ‘no solicitation’ list which is similar to the ‘no call’ lists that came out regarding unwanted phone sales lists, just much easier to enforce.

Chief Terry Cochran Cottonwood Police Department

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