Social media has recently been fueling rumors that furniture and home-good e-retailer, Wayfair, traffics missing children. Grewal Law Human Trafficking Division takes allegations such as these extremely seriously – when and if they are legitimate. It’s important readers and social media users know the facts versus myths when it comes to human trafficking.
No bona fide evidence linking Wayfair to child trafficking exists. Many of the children that social media posts claim are missing are in fact, not missing at all. The rumor that Wayfair somehow sells missing children in cabinets and other high-priced items seems to have been based off people’s confusion over why some items were so expensive (i.e. a $17,000 desk, a $13,000 cabinet). Fact-checking research explains a few different answers to the highly-priced items on Wayfair, and other sites such as Amazon: 1. Algorithms gone wrong; 2. Placeholder pricing, which allows retailers to effectively remove out-of-stock items for purchase without permanently deleting the product from its website; 3. The market for legitimate luxury items; and 4. The high-price halo effect, which shapes consumers perceptions of lower-priced items compared to an absurdly high-priced item.
Myths such as the Wayfair child trafficking rumor hurts real trafficking survivors. Sadly, numerous real-life examples of human trafficking exist in our hometowns and in the news stories, which people should channel their energy and outrage toward. Take for example Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s child trafficking ring in which they pandered teenage girls to the world’s most elite. Our President said he wished Maxwell “well” as she sits in federal prison awaiting her trial set for July 12, 2021. Maxwell helped procure young girls for Epstein to sexually abuse and traffic for decades.
Could some of the cheaply priced products on Wayfair and other e-retailers use child labor to produce the low prices we hunt for? Yes. By focusing on absurd theories that children are being sold inside cabinets, we shift the focus away from the much more prevalent and realistic instances of trafficking.
To learn more about human trafficking connect with resources through Polaris, and local human trafficking task forces, such as the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. Be careful when reposting human trafficking stories that are shared through influencers or other non-experts on social media. Learn the signs of human trafficking so that when legitimate trafficking occurs – you’re prepared to stop it.
To reach the National Human Trafficking hotline 24 hours a day toll-free, call 888-373-7888 or send a text message to 233733. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children can be reached 24 hours a day at 800-843-567.
Kelly R. McClintock joined Grewal Law in 2019 to help establish a human trafficking litigation division and to assist Grewal’s already successful practices, including sexual assault litigation, and family law.