NEW YORK — NYPD Detectives raided Soho public-relations firm FaceWise and discovered a brutal intern trafficking ring that included over two dozen individuals locked in a series of walk-in supply closets. The interns were found gagged, sitting Indian style, with little to no hope they would be hired.
“I looked through the cracks of the closet and saw 10 to 12 beady eyes staring back at me,” says Special Agent Patrick Dulworth. “Human eyes.”
Despite protests from corporate higher-ups, officers unfastened the locks on the supply closets, and after cutting through a layer of barbed wire began to liberate the starved twenty-somethings. “I never thought I’d get out of there with a full-time job that could pay my rent and student loans and still leave me money for brunch,” says Ashley Tannerman, who had not drank water for five days. “Not only did I not get the job, but I got locked in a closet.”
Intern trafficking has been an ongoing problem for the NYPD since the early 1980’s, beginning with the Gold-Rebenack Agency bust of 1982, where detectives found over fifty college students chained to various pipes and gaskets in the boiler room of the Flatiron building.
In the years that followed, the state has taken a more hard-line stance on the issue. Nonetheless, trafficking plots are being reported almost weekly, with interns being discovered en masse in copy rooms, supply closets and blue dumpsters citywide.
Craigslist has become the unofficial hotbed of the intern slave trade in New York. Since the economic downturn more and more job seekers are turning to the site despite its checkered and controversial past. Agencies post ads promising, among other things, a “unique learning experience”, a “great way to learn the ins and outs of the industry,” and “…uh, the possibility of getting hired.” The latter claim rarely proves true, Newslo has learned.
“We’re dealing with some real sick criminals here,” says Officer Vincent Cardone, in regards to FaceWise’s Board of Directors. “It’s one thing to waste a person’s time. It’s another thing to put their professional self-respect through the proverbial shredder, and then make them bag the proverbial shreds, and take them out to the proverbial trash disposal. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Four full-time company employees who rarely show up before noon are expected to appear before a judge in city court next Wednesday, where they face over one thousand counts of reckless endangerment, kidnapping, and unauthorized use of a Xerox machine.