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Trafficking in the News: Wayfair
July 14, 2020

Last weekend, social media users on Reddit and Twitter were posting about a theory that Wayfair has been allegedly posting furniture for sale that was actually a subterfuge for children being trafficked and sold.

News reports since have made efforts to fact check the rumors, and so far suggest there is no evidence to support the theory.

It’s 2020, so theoretically anything is possible these days, but this does seem pretty far-fetched. 

The part that reads as most far-fetched, honestly, is the effort (if true) to conceal the sale of children, when literally thousands of traffickers, exploiters, pedophiles, and other abusers are doing it openly.

Beyond Wayfair: What We Do Know

Just two weeks ago, there were news reports in Germany, where “German cyber crime authorities have uncovered a massive online network of at least 30,000 people who share child pornography and exchange advice on how to sedate and abuse minors, law enforcement authorities said on Monday.” According to one justice minister, people aren’t even bothering with the dark web. They log onto regular social media and discuss techniques openly and receive encouragement from other, more experienced users. 

In Thailand, “since mid-April, the police taskforce has recovered more than 150,000 files of child sexual abuse material and opened 53 cases. In 2019, they had 72 cases involving 46 victims.”

If the Wayfair scandal were true, that would be horrific indeed. If there’s anything to it, it’s up to law enforcement to find and prosecute it. But one thing to consider is the effort expended drumming up suspicion for a murky theory about a handful of possible cases when there are so many thousands of cases out in the open. As Love146 rightly points out, we should consider what kind of impact it has to spread information that may prove untrue to the legitimacy of the anti-trafficking movement which already suffers from criticism of over-inflated claims. This is why we try hard to stick to what is known. There’s already so much there that we do know. 

As our friends at Dressember have also argued, if we want to fight child exploitation, we can focus our efforts and attention where we know children are being exploited – beyond the sex trade, this means educating ourselves about the products we consume and where we buy them. Here is the U.S. Department of Labor’s list of goods that exploit child labor as a place to start.


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