Because of the covert nature of its operation, human trafficking can occur in all kinds of situations that appear to be legitimate business operations on the surface.
Local news for Houston, Texas reported on viral posts circulating on social media that claimed the home goods chain Wayfair was involved in various instances of human trafficking.
Reporters investigate and find little evidence among accusations
Popular social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were among the platforms where reports emerged that expensive cabinets costing over $10,000 were actually utilized for human trafficking, which accounted for the high prices. The names of various missing people were posted as well alongside the items. Some other expensive price tag items from the retailer such as pillows and shower curtains that also seemed to have unusually high prices in the thousands of dollars were accused of being fronts for human trafficking as well.
Various people online used the listings of items such as a $14,000 utility storage cabinet as evidence. Some items such as pillows also coincidentally had the same names as the last names of various missing persons. However, there were some questions beginning to emerge as little evidence to prove trafficking was occurring was offered aside from the unusually high prices of the items. At least one of the victims that shared a name with a product had already been safe at home for months. The report prompted Wayfair to temporarily remove the listings for the expensive cabinets, which led to further questioning of their motives. Wayfair never responded to the accusations regarding absurd prices or items that shared names with missing children.
In conclusion, the fact checking organization that looked into the story said that it seems there was not much concrete evidence to show that the retailer knowingly did anything wrong. However, there are plenty of other legitimate claims of human trafficking involving various businesses in the Houston metro area. Reports such as this can be dangerous because they can cause the public to dismiss legitimate crimes that are occurring.
How to get legal assistance after a trafficking incident
Human trafficking is a very serious crime that forces people into various forms of modern slavery. Victims are often drugged and abused after being kidnapped. Recent changes in the law in the U.S. have allowed victims to pursue civil actions against suspects in addition to criminal charges. Lawyers who focus on these kinds of cases are available in the Houston area to officer guidance and assistance.
Get assistance from a local attorney
If you have been a victim of human trafficking or know someone who has, it is possible to get legal help and file a civil case for compensation against the perpetrators. To learn more about this process, contact:
5020 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006