Smugglers Reportedly Using Social Media to Recruit People
(RepublicanPress.org) – One of the ways people try and make it into America under the radar is by hiring a smuggler to get them across. After paying thousands of dollars to this business, however, the migrant is at the mercy of the smuggling organization to keep them safe and alive.
Authorities have warned that these groups do not have the immigrants’ health, safety, or even final destination as a top priority. Many even recruit random drivers through social media, often leading to chaos and arrests.
TikTok and Instagram Ads Recruit Drivers
While smuggling groups will typically use their own personnel to get migrants from one side of the US-Mexico border to another, they have recently found other ways to get their human cargo to the final promised city, like Tuscon, Phoenix, or Dallas. Organizations reportedly purchase ads on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat to lure in potential drivers with the promise of large sums of cash for a quick job.
The New York Post reported that Texas officials have seen job postings offering people $2,000 to $3,000, and sometimes more, for a single trip. A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson, Chris Olivarez, told the outlet that he believes human smuggling cases have spiked because of how easy it is for smugglers to use social media as a tool.
“We provide the car and gas money. Pay: $1500-$2500. SWIPE UP.”
Migrant smugglers are using Snapchat and TikTok to recruit drivers in the U.Shttps://t.co/QzhscPdPaI
— Anthony DeRosa (@Anthony) October 19, 2022
According to the Wall Street Journal, Border Patrol agents report that around 90% of drivers they speak with in post-arrest interviews admit to being recruited on social media. While these companies all have policies against people using their platforms for illegal activities, their attempts to ban accounts are not working well enough to stop it from happening altogether.
People Don’t Quite Know What They Sign Up For
When smuggling groups find a driver, they allegedly do not tell them who or why they are asking them to drive. Instead, they typically just provide a time and place for the pick-up to occur. WSJ reported that one driver was told by his coordinator to simply “step on the gas” when authorities caught on. As the smugglers have no reason to protect the drivers, and the drivers know nothing about the crimes, they are often left behind to get arrested if things go awry.
Smugglers have recruited many kids under the age of 18 to do their dirty work of taking migrants from the border to a nearby city, including one 14-year-old who drove six migrants in his Ford truck before getting arrested, according to WSJ. Olivarez was quoted last week by The New York Post saying smugglers “don’t just come out and say we need a driver to smuggle people.” Rather, they entice people with catchy messages and promises of large payments.
While social media has its advantages, it also provides a platform for these human smugglers to bring others into their mess, including kids, sometimes at the expense of people’s lives.
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