Summer Internship Program Is a Front for Human Trafficking-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Warnings have gone viral that summer internship programs are a front for human trafficking, and applicants are routinely drugged and shipped overseas.
There aren’t any known summer internship programs that are a front for human trafficking.
Some versions of the claim falsely name Vector Marketing’s summer work program as a front for human trafficking, and others don’t name a specific company. Either way, none of the claims check out.
Police in Roseville, California, investigated numerous reports of would-be summer interns almost being suckered into human trafficking, and found them to be false:
Families claimed the company scheduled an interview where the potential interviewee would be drugged, kidnapped and turned over to human traffickers.
Police say that’s not the case, and that the letters are from Vector Marketing, which operates Cutco knives. The company screens, hires and trains contractors to sell its product.
Vector marketing says its interviews are conducted at established brand offices and are safe. They aren’t sure how their name was attached to the rumor.
The Better Business Bureau also investigated viral warnings about summer internship programs being a front for human trafficking and labeled it a “hoax.” The BBB said:
On June second Vector Marketing has become a victim of an online hoax perpetrated by a 21-year-old college student, according to Vector Marketing. The hoax started when a parody twitter account (@TweetLikeAGirl) sent out a tweet to 1 million of its followers warning them about human trafficking rings calling girls offering non-existent job positions. The tweet never mentioned a specific company name, however overzealous tweeters decided to take it upon themselves to investigate the matter further. An online user posted a letter from Vector Marketing as a response to the initial tweet, instigating a massive re-post on all major social media platforms resulting in a backlash from the public and police involvement.
According to Vector Marketing, the company has a summer work program for college students in sales and customer service, the company uses direct mail to advertise these summer work positions. Concerned citizens were seeing the letters and began posting them alongside the warning posts about human trafficking on Facebook, on Tumblr, and on Twitter without fact-checking or any substantiation.
As it turns out, Tweet Like a Girl is a parody account that’s operated by 21-year-old man from Tennessee who makes thousands of dollars on novelty Twitter accounts, Buzz Feed reports. Tweet Like a Girl’s tweeted a screen grab of a message that reads:
Girls. I just got a call from a business saying that they needed girls to work this summer as a receptionist for $15 an hour. They wanted me to come in for an interview at 3:15 today so I called my mom and this is what she told me. Recently in Humble thre was a girl who got the same type of phone call and when she went inn to interview, something felt off so she left and called the sheriffs office. It was a human trafficking place, they take the girls back to interview and give them a bottle of water that is drugged and the girls wake up halfway around the world. So basically if y’all get a phone call offering you a job, hang up and report them. Please pass along to every girl you know.
It’s not clear whether the initial warning was sent from that account, or whether it was copied from another user. A Facebook post that went viral at the same time shows a picture of a Vector recruitment letter and the warning:
A few days ago I reblogged a tumblr post warning about a letter being sent to young women urging them to apply for a job of which they gave no details. This group has been drugging girls that show up for the interview and kidnapping them to be used in sex trafficking. The post I saw was based in California, but today I received the same letter. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND IF ANY OF YOU GET THIS. This is dangerous and repulsive.
So, despite millions of Facebook warnings about summer internship programs being a front for human trafficking, there are no credible reports of that actually happening. That’s why we’re calling this one fiction.