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  • Emma Diercks

Let's Talk About Wayfair

Many of you heard about Wayfair and accusations that they are trafficking children through items listed at inflated prices over the weekend. I should note that the allegation was not based on police reports, firsthand accounts, financial records or in-depth investigative reporting.

The Reddit poster also noted that the products carried the names of children who have gone missing. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States -- that's approximately 2,000 per day.

In a statement to Newsweek, Wayfair denied the allegations. They further said that the cabinets were industrial grade and accurately priced.

When I first heard this accusation against Wayfair and read its statement, my initial thought was that people should NOT be spreading around rumors like this. Human trafficking is a super serious crime. It's one thing to privately call the Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) if you have a suspicion, it's another to make highly public claims.

But then I thought, what if public outcry is the only way to spark an investigation. Then again, if not true, Wayfair's name is smeared, virtually forever. It's a fine line to walk.

Finally, I want to share this statement from Love 146, because I think it is the most effective response for change that I have seen.

Love 146 noted that the accusations against Wayfair and child trafficking are currently unfounded.

But this is what they do know. At the end of the day, when you shop for fast, affordable, mass-produced clothing and homewares, the likelihood you're supporting exploitation is HIGH. It is not likely people are making a living wage in appropriate conditions throughout the supply chain. It makes those who made products more vulnerable, at best. This isn't a blanket statement about Wayfair or any retailer. If you want to be vigilant about child trafficking, ethical shopping is a great thing to research. It goes much deeper than this weekend's suspicions.

Love 146 says if news about Wayfair stirred you up this weekend, know that your concern and heart to stop child trafficking is essential! And what we all need is to persevere tomorrow and the next day in doing what we can to make a safer world for children.

What if we all asked questions about the story behind every produce on Wayfair? What if we asked questions like this about why people who ARE caught purchasing children for sex too frequently do not face the consequences? Why in dozens of US states are children still being treated as criminals for being trafficked? What if we asked why black and brown children are trafficked at much higher rates.

What if these questions, with mountains of evidence, were trending next weekend?

I challenge each of you to visit love146.org or polarisproject.org and share and flood Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with facts. Let's hashtag human trafficking awareness and let people know this IS a real issue worldwide.

Dressember also responded and made a call to action to commit your finances and time to educate yourself about ethical and sustainable fashion and products. When making purchases ask, "Was this product made by an adult? Did the person making this receive a living wage in healthy conditions?" Look at your closet. Can you pick out each item and confirm that the answer to those two questions is yes?

Human trafficking involved products are not typically going to be as blatant as overpriced cabinets with disturbing names. We should question EVERY product when it comes to consumption to enact change.

Yes, to be a conscious consumer takes hard work and commitment, but knowing that you are not contributing to the cycle of human trafficking makes it so worth it!

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