Nineteen Facebook pages allegedly offering human smuggling services to help migrants illegally cross the US-Mexico border remained active on the platform for at least a month despite the company being notified. , according to a report.
The groups advertise things like routes and prices for those looking to make the perilous journey – and others that have been discovered appear to have ties to Mexican drug cartels, according to a Tech Transparency Project investigation.
“The prevalence of human trafficking on Facebook shows the company’s inability or unwillingness to identify and manage dangerous content on its platform, even on a major national issue – in this case, the “influx of migrants to the US-Mexico border,” the website said in its report this week.
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Facebook told Fox News on Friday that “we prohibit content that proposes to provide or facilitate human trafficking.
“We rely on people and technology to remove this content, and are working with NGOs and other stakeholders to combat the ways in which our platform can be used by those who want to harm people,” added a spokesperson. “We are constantly evaluating ways to improve our app so that we can find and remove content that breaks our rules as efficiently as possible.”
But the Tech Transparency Project said in April that it first identified the existence of 50 private pages and groups advertising human trafficking and provided their names to Facebook after the company asked. Yet as of May, 19 of those pages remained active on the platform and dozens more have been found since, he added.
One of the pages that Fox News visited on Friday, titled “Viaje para estados unidos, cumple tu sueño” (“Travel to the United States, make your dream come true”), contains a video supposedly showing six people in a bedroom. hotel in McAllen, TX – just across the border from the Mexican town of Reynosa.
“Thank goodness one more band in mcallen tx,” the caption reads next to the video.
“Thanks for the trust,” he adds, before apparently posting prices of $ 1,800 to go from Reynosa to McAllen – and $ 5,550 from Reynosa to Houston.
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The page also contains a video of people descending from a raft on the banks of a river and a message saying, “We left Honduras on March 30 towards the border,” followed by an emoji of the American flag. .
Another page the Tech Transparency Project says it has found is called “El coyote lopez”. Their report contained a screenshot showing that the page offers a WhatsApp number to get in touch with its carrier and apparently offers a reduced smuggling rate of $ 1,700 for single mothers and children who are ready to go to the border patrol during their passage through the United States
A 44,000-member group is said to contain numerous posts from a user whose profile photos include logos and hand signs synonymous with Vatos Locos, a criminal gang in Central America linked to Mexican cartels, according to Tech Transparency Project.
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The website also reports that it has found cases of smugglers adding a $ 700 fee to their border crossing fares that are paid to cartels as they pass through their territory.
Facebook, in its section on community standards, warns users not to post “content that proposes to provide or facilitate human trafficking.”