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Drivers of human trafficking recruited on social media platforms

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Federal and local law enforcement are reporting an increase in the number of transnational criminal organizations recruiting drivers for human trafficking operations via social media.

US Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia is confronting the CEOs of TikTok, Meta, Twitter and Snapchat over the situation.

A former federal law enforcement officer and CIA agent, Spanberger encourages CEOs in a letter to fight the use of their platforms for hiring drivers.

“I write with deep concern over recent reports by law enforcement officials of an increase in smugglers using social media to recruit drivers for migrant smuggling operations,” Spanberger’s letter reads. “Smugglers, usually associated with other TCOs, often take advantage of migrants in desperate situations and profit from migration flows. Additionally, the TCOs use some of the profits from smuggling to fuel their other criminal enterprises, such as drug trafficking. »

According to a press release, drivers to transport recently arrived migrants are entering the United States without authorization. The Wall Street Journal reported that a Border Patrol agent said, “About 90% of…drivers we see, in post-arrest interviews, admit they were recruited through social media.”

Drivers are offered thousands of dollars for a few hours of driving and are sometimes unaware that they are contributing to human trafficking.

Spanberger calls on the CEOs of Tiktok, Meta, Twitter and Snapchat to do more to prevent the recruitment of smugglers on their platforms. She also requested a briefing with the companies to outline current efforts to remove the content and cooperate with law enforcement.

“Unfortunately, TCOs have been active across the United States and have been using social media platforms for recruiting for several years. In Virginia, MS-13 used social media to recruit minors to commit crimes. Federal and local law enforcement are working tirelessly to disrupt these smuggling and TCO networks, and social media platforms must be vigilant and active in removing this content,” Spanberger’s letter reads.

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