Hillary Clinton is involved in an international child sex trafficking ring, conspiracy theorists have decided after poring over WikiLeaks releases and concocting their own special code to fill in the blanks.
This election season has been filled with all kinds of conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, starting back during the Democratic Party primaries when supporters of Bernie Sanders decided that she was behind a nationwide election fraud to steal Sanders votes. It continued after she won the party’s nomination (or stole it, if you were one of the conspiracy theorists) and Donald Trump supporters teamed up with disenchanted Sanders supporters to push theories about Clinton’s fragile and declining health.
But now the craziest conspiracy theory yet is starting to gain traction, connecting Hillary Clinton to some kind of secret cabal that steals children from Haiti for some nefarious, undetermined purposes — possibly sex trafficking.
Normally, it would be best to ignore such conspiracy theories, but the stories connecting Hillary Clinton to a child trafficking ring are actually starting to get traction online, with some popular bloggers and sites now picking up on it. The story even garnered an official reaction from PolitiFact, the site that evaluates campaign statements and stories to determine their truth.
The story actually originated on the Trump-supporting Reddit forum known as /r/The_Donald, where a user pieced together apparent evidence from emails of Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta that described what the user believed was a child trafficking ring.
For those unfamiliar with Reddit, it’s the popular site where internet sleuths tried to crack the Boston Marathon bombing to disastrous failure. They ended up identifying the wrong person and ultimately forced the FBI to release the real identity of the bombers to stop the panic. As Slate noted, the public outing spooked the suspects and led them to kill an MIT campus police officer and getting into a shootout that left another police officer dead. So, that’s Reddit.
But back to the Hillary Clinton sex trafficking ring story. Apparently, the user believed that Clinton was working in cahoots with Laura Silsby, a missionary who went to Haiti in the wake of the nation’s devastating 2010 earthquake and tried to smuggle out a group of children to be adopted in the United States.
It turned out that most of the kids weren’t orphans, but their parents gave them to Silsby and her group in the hopes that they could be adopted into a better life. Silsby ended up facing a charge of “arranging irregular travel” and being sent back to the United States with credit for time served in jail.
Wonkette explains how that transformed into a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was connected to a child trafficking ring.
“So, how was Hillary Clinton part of this, and where’s the child sex trafficking? Mostly in the fevered imaginations of the excitable internet detectives of r/The_Donald, who decided that since Clinton discussed the case in emails with Huma Abedin and other aides, she was going out of her way to help the child abductors escape justice. This leaves out one tiny detail: as secretary of State, Clinton’s job was to help American citizens arrested in other countries. Huma emailed her articles about the case, and from there, Reddit decided that can only mean they’re all child traffickers trading children all over the world for sex slaves, and probably hitching rides on Jeffrey Epstein’s sex plane, too.”
The theory gained traction when the Wikileaks Twitter account linked to it, and Trump supporter/conspiracy theorists Mike Cernovich started providing his own evidence that included an entirely secret language hidden within John Podesta’s emails to talk about the child sex ring.
So far, the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton is part of a secret child sex trafficking ring isn’t gaining any traction beyond the outer edges of the internet, but another theory just as crazy is actually gaining steam. Cernovich is also pushing a separate conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton is part of a satanic cult involved in some kind of human sacrifice known as “spirit cooking” (you can read about it here), and the term is the top trend on Twitter.
[Featured Image by David Calvert/Getty Images]