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Facebook: A Haven for Migrant Smugglers

The Underground Travel Agent

As social media continues to grow and become more accessible, traffickers have begun to utilise the sites as secret travel agents for those seeking a way into Europe.

An analysis compiled by security experts for EU policy makers “confirms that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are widely used to share information on how to enter the EU illegally.”


By setting up members-only accounts and pages, sites like Facebook offer criminal organisations a free and confidential means of reaching prospective ‘clients’. The pages not only outline costs and fees for travel to most European countries, but also offer advice on secure payments and avoiding detection once in Europe.

The figures quoted on some of these Facebook pages are truly staggering, with a spot on a small inflatable dinghy costing around 2000 Euros. Spaces on larger carriers can go for upwards of 8000 Euros. Due to the money involved and the seemingly unending market, it’s easy to see how such prospects can be appealing to criminal organisations.

Turkey seems to be a hotspot for this kind of activity, primarily due to its close proximity to Eastern Europe, Greece and Bulgaria. The Mediterranean and the Black Sea essentially serve as highways into Europe. With global tensions and instability on the rise, high levels of immigrants are also reported to be departing from African countries such as Libya and Egypt.

Although these pages bare many similarities it has been difficult for prosecutors to link them to each other, thus making any attempt at large scale interventions and arrests a difficult process. Shutting down one page would, after all, have little impact on the issue as a whole.

As immigration becomes an issue at the forefront of politics in the build up to the election, the government is increasing efforts to combat these organisations. This is forcing them into ever more ingenious approaches, often taking advantages of international laws on human rights to gain access to European countries. One method recently employed is to stage a search-and-rescue operation: When migrant vessels are detected by the coast guard they shut off all engines and throw the motors overboard, allowing the vessel to drift freely at sea. This forces authorities to provide assistance and drag them to European shores.


Around 170,000 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean last year, but thousands more either died or are still missing to this day. So whatever you personal opinion on immigration laws, these organisations are endangering lives and action must be taken.

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working part time as a content writer, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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Facebook: A Haven for Migrant Smugglers Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, January 15, 2015 Rating: 5
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