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- This claim stems from a 2018 conspiracy theory that an abandoned campsite in Tucson, Arizona, was evidence of child trafficking. Local and federal authorities investigated and found nothing to corroborate those allegations.
An old conspiracy theory is getting rehashed on social media as claims about an abandoned campsite in Arizona are shared without context.
"‘Child trafficking camp’ discovered in Arizona, is owned by CEMEX (cementera Mexicana) donors to Clinton Foundation," reads a screenshot of a tweet shared in an Instagram post. "Dozens of U.S. citizens have joined forces with veterans to uncover what they believe is a child trafficking camp hidden in the woods in Arizona."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The Nov. 30 tweet included a video that doesn’t appear in the Instagram post: a news broadcast from KVOA-TV, an NBC News affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. The news segment covers how Veterans on Patrol, a homeless veterans advocacy group, discovered an abandoned campsite and concluded that it was a child trafficking camp.
More important context: a few days later, the station reported that Tucson police found no evidence connecting the abandoned camp with child sex trafficking. False claims still spread online.
"The camp has become part of a theorized plot linking the homeless encampment to some of the most common targets of far-right conspiracies: the Clintons, the Rothschilds and George Soros, among others," NBC News reported in 2018.
Tucson police told the outlet that it had sent officers, detectives and a command staff to investigate, but found "no indication" that the camp was being used for anything criminal. After Veterans on Patrol claimed bodies could be buried there, the police sent a cadaver dog. No bodies were found.
ABC affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson also reported in 2018 that special agents within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s trafficking division investigated and "found nothing that would validate the claims of possible human trafficking."
We rate this post Pants on Fire!
Instagram post, Dec. 5, 2022
Tweet, Nov. 30, 2022
NBC News, Arizona veterans group finds homeless camp — and fuels a new 'pizzagate'-style conspiracy, June 7, 2018
Arizona Daily Star, Man leading internet claims of Tucson child sex-trafficking camp arrested again, July 23, 2018
KVOA, Homeless camp or child trafficking den?, June 1, 2018
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