The women supporting the QAnon conspiracy group are diligently focused on stopping child abuse, child sex trafficking and child pornography. Yet, when it came to do something on the issue, the chief enabler of QAnon appears to have hosted domains for child pornography.
According to a Mother Jones report, 8Chan and 8kun owner Jim Watkins “controls a company that hosted scores of domains whose names suggest they are connected to child pornography.”
The imageboard allowed users a place where they could exchange photos or videos of such child abuse and exploitation.
“While Mother Jones did not visit the domains because of strict laws related to viewing child sex abuse material, internet registration and hosting data suggest at a minimum that Watkins profited from domains with names explicitly related to pedophilia—the very thing that QAnon followers say that they’re motivated to end,” said the report. “The domains’ names include terms such as ‘preteen,’ ‘schoolgirl,’ and ‘child’ alongside graphic terms for genitalia and words like ‘rape’ and ‘love.’ It’s unclear what, if anything, is currently being served at the domains. However, an analysis of metadata collected years ago from one by archive.org shows dozens of filenames and links containing highly suggestive terms, including ‘xxxpreteen,’ ‘children,’ and sexual references to girls aged 12 to 15.”
Some of the domains date back to the 1990s and it’s unclear if they are still active. “Others currently resolve to IP addresses controlled by Watkins’ company, N.T. Technology, according to records compiled by Farsight Security, a cybersecurity company that archives historical routing data detailing relationships among domain names, IP addresses, name servers, and other digital assets.”
Experts speculate that Watkins has a major role in maintaining the QAnon account on 8kun.
When asked why his company hosts such sites, Watkins denied he was. “We’re not child pornographers, and we don’t host child pornography, and we don’t condone that,” he said.
QAnon has also been behind slowing investigations into actual child sex trafficking because they promote so many false conspiracy theories that it has inundated investigators who have to check into the leads.
“It’s extraordinarily frustrating,” Lisa Goldblatt Grace, of My Life My Choice, an anti-trafficking nonprofit told FiveThirtyEight. “We’ve worked so hard for the last 18 years to shift the narrative and have people understand this is happening in our communities. QAnon instead gives folks this incredibly sensationalized ‘other’ to fear and be angry about.”
Devoted QAnon fans think there’s a secret group of powerful people who run underground pedophilia rings. Instead of going after people like Ghislaine Maxwell, or researching people like Watkins linked to hosting abusive domains, they spread PizzaGate conspiracies alleging a DC pizza parlor had a basement filled with children for pedophiles. One of QAnon’s own PizzaGate fans, Edgar Maddison Welch, came to the pizza parlor to liberate the children, only to find there was no basement in the building, much less the pedophile ring conspiracy theorists told him. He has been sentenced to four years in prison and announced he was sorry.
He said he had “sincere regret for any emotional trauma I might have caused, especially to the families who were present.” Adding, “It was never my intention to harm or frighten innocent lives, but I realize now just how foolish and reckless my decision was.”
President Donald Trump is a big part of the conspiracy theories, with supporters who believe he is secretly going after powerful people behind the trafficking and fighting devil worship. There are no reports about the effort and neither Trump nor the White House has announced anything he’s done in this regard. Presumably, if Trump was behind such an effort he likely would have made it a key tenant of his 2020 reelection.
The children that are most often the victim of trafficking or sexual exploitation are often poor, children of color, immigrants or a combination of each. They’re typical kids who have been living in the welfare system or children who ran away from home. The top way a QAnon supporter could help stop abuse, exploitation and trafficking is by joining the organizations in place who have been doing the work for decades or volunteer to be a foster parent of an abused child. Instead, most spend their days behind a screen virtue signaling and sending police on wild goose chases.