Bust out your tin foil hats because there’s a wild child trafficking conspiracy theory straight out of the r/conspiracy subreddit and hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack here.
The theory was first started by Reddit user u/PrincessPeach1987 yesterday, who asked “is it possible Wayfair [is] involved in human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets?”
Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this makes me sick to my stomach if it’s true 🙁 from r/conspiracy
For those unfamiliar, Wayfair is a homeware and furnishings website based in the US.
In less than 24 hours, the post has gone viral, with “Wayfair” trending on Twitter in the US and the theory likely already being shared amongst your tin foil hat-wearing mates on social media.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t blindly believe anything you read on the internet – especially child trafficking conspiracies on Reddit. In no way are we suggesting that Wayfair IS involved in child trafficking (or anything of that nature). But hey, it’s a gloomy Melbourne day in lockdown, so why not investigate it a little?
For starters, let’s take a look at the prices of some of these cabinets – they’re bloody astronomical. Sure, we’re a bunch of millennials/zoomers who buy all of our furniture in the form of flat-packs from IKEA, but I’m fairly certain even a fancy metal storage cabinet isn’t going to set you back *checks notes* $14,899.99USD.
From my research (a quick Bunnings search), a lockable metal storage cabinet will usually set you back between $150-$650AUD depending on the dimensions and features. So, it’s a little sketchy that Wayfair is slinging utility cabinets for upwards of $20,000. But the price is just one piece of this conspiracy puzzle.
The reason this theory really took off online is the cabinets names, which include “Neriah,” Yaritza,” Samiyah,” and “Alyvia”, among others. While they may just sound like interesting product names, they also happen to coincide with a list of missing children.
However, it is important to note that some of these missing people, including Samiyah Mumin, have since been found and are therefore not involved in an alleged child sex trafficking ring.
To put it simply, the conspiracy theory suggests that the cabinets are a front for the sale of missing children, which would explain the hefty price tag.
The cabinets were all promptly removed from Wayfair.com shortly after the theory started to spread, which only further fuelled the conspiracy fire.
“I can not believe my eyes that they’ve deleted those cabinets off the site,” one Reddit user wrote.
But it’s not just the cabinets on the Wayfair site that have wild price tags, with fans quickly pointing out that a number of products including a throw pillow for $10,045.99USD and a vase for a staggering $196,999.99USD.
— sushithagoat (@sushithagoat) July 10, 2020
— Teri (@Teri423) July 10, 2020
Conspiracy theorists were quick to allege that the only logical explanation for the huge price disparity between standard and monogrammed products was that the personalised versions must be involved in some sort of child sex trafficking ring. Obviously, this is a huge leap to make based off one Reddit user’s hunch.
It’s important to note that selling wildly overpriced homewares and furnishings does not immediately mean that Wayfair are involved in child sex trafficking. Sure, it could be some sort of money laundering scheme, but it could also be something as simple as a poorly-built website with a bunch of pricing errors.
Some Redditors have also gone so far as to suggest that typing “src us” followed by the SKU codes of some products will bring up photos that may suggest child abuse. *NOTE* I don’t condone trying this – searching for these sorts of images (even to confirm a conspiracy theory) could actually violate the law. A wild conspiracy theory deep dive isn’t worth accidentally linking yourself to potentially illegal materials.
Despite the lack of evidence to support the child sex trafficking claim, Reddit users were quick to point out the proven fact that the company sold $200,000 worth of furniture to a migrant detention centre in Texas last year. This obviously doesn’t mean that they’re guilty of child sex trafficking, but it was enough to fuel the fire among conspiracy theorists online.
So the same wayfair that supplies beds to ICE, who has lost over 2000 kids in their custody, is also possibly selling missing children on their website as $10k+ furniture and pillows………the math is actually mathing on this one. pic.twitter.com/GBFRZ8yXIT
— secular saint (@kaycee_345) July 10, 2020
Wayfair has since released a statement vehemently denying the accusations, citing that the high price of the cabinets was a supplier decision, while the pillows were allegedly a website glitch.
One more statement from Wayfair
About pillow prices: "That is a glitch and something we're working to address."
"To further clarify 'industrial-grade,' these products are industrial-grade, high-gauge stainless steel cabinets made in the USA primarily for commercial use."
— Audrey Conklin (@audpants) July 10, 2020
It is also worth noting that Wayfair functions as a drop-shipping middle man. Although they showcase products from a wide range of suppliers, they’re not actually the manufacturers of these products, which makes it highly unlikely that this is a front for such a heinous crime.
At this point in time, there is precisely zero credible evidence (apart from the names of some cabinets) to support the accusations being made. Even Snopes has called it a false theory.
Conspiracy theories are interesting to read about, but if you’re going to research this on your own – please be careful when searching for things that could inadvertently land you in legal trouble.
We’ll be sure to update you if any evidence is found to support the theory, but right now it seems to be nothing more than a Reddit conspiracy.