I received a call today from Chris, an outreach worker at Denver's homeless youth services Urban Peak. He said he had to pick up some kids left stranded by a "sales crew." I never heard of such a thing so it didn't register or make sense.
When I arrived at their downtown facility I met Jeremy and Alicia. They were left stranded by an group that exploits homeless youth for labor. These organizations promise great income and fun travel. To a kid in poverty, being able to travel and make money is often too sexy to resist. Of course, this is just a labor trafficking scheme. The kids make very little money, are often abused, and when they want out they are left stranded back homeless, often worse than when they started.
Jeremy and Alicia, up until this morning, were sleeping in a bus station. Alicia is 21 and pregnant. This could have been a horrible situation, but luckily they found Urban Peak. They received a hotel voucher for tonight and will get travel assistance tomorrow so they can take a bus back home.
For more information on labor and sex trafficking of homeless youth, watch this powerful video: