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Book Salesman Wants to Clear Name

"His face is out on Facebook right now saying he's this ring leader for human trafficking... It was shared more than 2,500 times in just in a matter of a day," said Deputy Keisha Guyll with the Benton County Sheriff's Department.
This picture has been circulating after rumors claimed this salesman was a human trafficker.
This picture has been circulating after rumors claimed this salesman was a human trafficker.
"I felt like there was some kind of suspicious thing going on, they think I'm kind of like a bad guy here.
BENTON COUNTY, AR -- A door-to-door salesman is working to set the record straight after a rumor claiming he was a human trafficker went viral.

"His face is out on Facebook right now saying he's this ring leader for human trafficking... It was shared more than 2,500 times in just in a matter of a day," said Deputy Keisha Guyll with the Benton County Sheriff's Department.

"I felt like there was some kind of suspicious thing going on, they think I'm kind of like a bad guy here," said Mirko Kruusma, a door-to-door salesman for children's books.

Someone snapped a picture and posted a warning online. After learning of the situation, he went to the Benton County Sheriff's Office on Thursday morning. He was worried for his safety as well as his partners'. Now, Kruusma is working to clear his name.

"I was in the wrong place and the wrong time," he said. "That's what happened to me. I can't take it personally otherwise it's going to be hard to go and knock on doors here... Now I just want to make sure that people on Facebook kind of share the right things there, let people know that I am actually just a bookseller here."

He traveled to the United States from Estonia, and this is his fourth summer making the trip with the company Southwestern Advantage.

"I checked his credentials, and we went over the company and it's a very legitimate company and he has valid credentials," said Guyll.

Carrying his book bag from house to house, Kruusma is encouraging education while saving up for his own.

"I do this job for my own experience, personal growth and also I want to earn money for college and pay my bills," he said.

As for the human trafficking tale, he is not taking it to heart.

"I know myself and friends know me and I'm not that guy," Kruusma said.  "I know I'm a nice guy so that's all that matters here."

And the Benton County Sheriff's Office is putting anxious minds at ease.

"Although we want people to be safe minded and not let their guard down especially when it comes to their children, we want to let people know that this gentleman is not trying to steal your kid," Guyll said.

Mirko said he does sometimes ask folks where children live on the street. He is selling children's books, so in his mind asking the question helps save time and gets him to possible customers faster. But, he said he understands how some parents might have misunderstood his intentions.

KNWA reporter Marissa Kargas reported this story.
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