Bogus Human Trafficking Rumors Continue To Create Panic

August 17, 2017

[Nashville, TN]  False and malicious rumors continue to circulate on social media concerning the intentions of students representing Southwestern Advantage, a well-known publisher and direct seller of educational children’s books.  BBB first alerted the public in 2015 of these bogus allegations.  These unfounded claims have caused unnecessary panic and concern for communities and consumers across the United States.

The posts (samples copied below) indicate salesmen roam neighborhoods under the guise of selling children’s books looking for homes with juveniles for human trafficking purposes.  The rumor further indicates local police departments confirm the rumors to be true, but BBB says the whole story is false and untruthful.

Bogus Social Media Post Examples:

Bogus Posts

Southwestern Advantage is America's oldest direct selling company, established in 1855 in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a direct seller and publisher of educational and reference products including books and CD-ROMs, and it offers a subscription-based website. Since 1868, Southwestern has helped thousands of college students run their own business to offset their educational expenses. Between 2,500 and 3,000 students from over 300 colleges and universities in North and South America and Europe participate in marketing and selling books and software throughout neighborhoods each summer, many earning college credit hours as an internship opportunity. The student representatives have over 4 million personal interactions with families and customers all over the United States and Canada. Southwestern Advantage maintains an A+ Rating and is a charter member of the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee (since 1961).  Click here for more detailed information about Southwestern Advantage and its marketplace performance.

 “Human trafficking and child abduction claims are very serious issues,” said Kathleen Calligan, BBB President and CEO.  “Untruthful and deceptive claims linking a reputable business and its representatives to a heinous crime is also a very serious issue, and will not tolerated.” 

 While social media can be an amazing tool to spread the word about bad business practices or other issues to be wary of, BBB cautions consumers not to believe everything posted online.  The Internet is full of fact and fiction – it’s up to us, as consumers, to be vigilant in doing our research in knowing what is true and what isn’t.  BBB is a great resource, so Start your search With Trust by visiting


For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Middle TN and Southern KY, which was founded in 1961 and serves 45 counties in Middle TN and Southern KY.