TWiki . Edumacation . WomensClubsChildSalesAlert TWiki . { Main | Edumacation | TWiki | Test }
Edumacation . { Home | Users | Changes | Search | Go }
linked from Youth Field Sales Alert web search for Youth Field Sales Alert
This content was copied from the General Federation of Women's Clubs web site at and is reproduced here without permission under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Child Labor Alert: You have seen these children on urban streets or going from door-to-door selling candy. They attract consumers by claiming to sell candy to raise money for charities, the disabled, or to stay off drugs. These are not the children who work for the Girl Scouts, a local church or school group. The proceeds from their sales do not go to charity.

Children, who are often younger than their state's legal working age, are recruited to sell candy from poor neighborhoods by "crew leaders." Crew leaders are adults who transport the children to wealthy neighborhoods or busy street corners to sell candy. "They'll take these kids from their homes, work them until all hours in strange neighborhoods and pay them very little," said Darlene Adkins, vice president of the National Consumers League.

On any given day, about 50,000 children sell candy in these types of operations nationwide. The average age of the children is 12-16; some peddlers are as young as 8. Their workday usually runs 8-12 hours. The children typically work more than 100 miles from their home, being transported to unfamiliar neighborhoods, other cities, and sometimes across state lines.

The National Consumers League estimates that candy kids account for as much as $1 billion in annual sales.(1) This revenue source is untaxed.

The CLC also estimates that as many as 100,000 young adults and minors are recruited annually into magazine subscriptions sales by some 40 companies, running hundred of crews. On any given day, 30,000 or more are on the street. Sales from magazine sales are estimated to be $60 to $200 million a year.(2)

The children are left to sell candy in unsupervised and sometimes dangerous conditions. It is not uncommon for them to go for hours without seeing their crew leaders. Crew leaders pocket the proceeds that these children are supposedly raising for charity. On average, children receive 25-$1 for each candy bar they sell. The money these children receive does not amount to the hourly minimum wage. Crew leaders recruit children by promising trips to amusement parks or baseball stadiums, but these outings rarely materialize.

"The consumer items vary in terms of what these groups are selling, but they're all pretty much the same principle involved: the kids are transported by vans, exploited, endangered, dropped in unfamiliar neighborhoods, unsupervised and not paid correctly," Adkins said.

In March 1999, the US Department of Labor launched a nationwide database to track candy sales companies and crew leaders. The database will help federal and state law enforcement agencies strengthen criminal investigations and prosecutions.

The US Department of Labor, the Interstate Labor Standards Association, and the National Child Labor Coalition have launched a national campaign targeting youth peddling. The campaign is focusing on the safety of young workers, illegal employment of minors and deceptive sales to consumers.

Existing youth peddling laws are weak and often unenforced. Only five states recognize door-to-door sales for unsupervised minors as dangerous. Law enforcement efforts are further hampered by lack of coordination between states. When one state cracks down on youth peddlers, the crew leaders simply go to a different state.

As part of the youth peddling campaign, the Interstate Labor Standards Association will work with the Department of Labor to encourage information sharing to help states work together and devise enforcement plans for ending the problem at the national level.

Consumers should note that these children work in dangerous environments:

Consumer guidelines for what you can do:

For further information, have a look at the following links:

(1)Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Crews Live and Die to Sell," by DAve Umhoefer and Meg Kissinger, August 1, 1999

(2) How the CLC computed this figure: As much as $750 million sales annually. Estimating that 50,000 minors are involved at any one time with an estimate in sales of 75 candy bars per week per kid. $4 a box x 75 bars = $300. $300 x 52 weeks in a year. $15,000 x 50,000 kids = $750,000,000 in a year.

Topic WomensClubsChildSalesAlert . { Edit | Ref-By | Attach | Diffs | r1.1 }
You must register before editing pages or using other extended features on this TWiki system.
Revision r1.1 - 09 Jan 2005 - 08:46 by EliMantel web search for EliMantel
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2000-2005 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration tool is the property of the contributing authors. Collect email addresses here.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback.