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Migrant smugglers using TikTok, YouTube to sell illegal transportation into US: Report

A fake celebrity death trend took TikTok by storm over the holidays. (Dreamstime/TNS)
June 16, 2023

Migrant smugglers are using TikTok and YouTube as part of the multibillion-dollar human smuggling industry, advertising illegal transportation services for migrants hoping to illegally enter the United States.

According to the New York Post, the human smugglers are linked to the cartels and post “high-quality” promotional videos that show the smugglers helping transport migrants into the United States and providing them with safety in “stash houses” once they have been transported over the southern border between the United States and Mexico.

The New York Post reported that the smugglers have public profiles on TikTok and YouTube, promoting their services online to anyone with a social media account and access to an electronic device. The smugglers’ social media accounts can be easily contacted in order to receive quotes for illegal transportation in the United States, which reportedly can cost over $10,000 per person.

“How about My people! I like to share moments captured on camera at the precise moment. The simple reason is to share life and everything that we Latinos (legal, undocumented) and Americans have in the USA, so my dear friends, I hope it is to your liking,” Soy Xulen, an alleged human smuggler wrote on his YouTube channel. “For people who have that desire to know more about it … Here you find ADVENTURES OF AN IMMIGRANT. And the different ways of living in Usa.”

According to USA Today, the United Nations International Organization for Migration has issued warnings regarding the use of TikTok to promote migrant smuggling.

“The TikTok platform is used to promote the ‘services’ offered by human traffickers through short videos,” a warning by the United Nations said. “These videos showcase successful cases of irregular border crossings and captivating images aimed at capturing the attention of individuals seeking to migrate irregularly with the assistance of a third party.”

READ MORE: Dozens of illegal immigrants bused to Los Angeles by Texas Gov. Abbott

Former Border Patrol Agent Thaddeus Cleveland told The Post that smugglers are willing to publicly advertise their criminal activities due to the profitability of the industry.

“You’d think they’d have better operational security online, but they’ve been so successful that they are more and more brazen to brag about it and rub it on our faces,” he said. “For the most part, they’re probably making it [into the US].”

According to the New York Times, it is estimated that the cartels make roughly $13 billion each year as a result of the human smuggling business.

Cleveland told The Post, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is struggling to match the manpower of the smugglers who are advertising their services on social media. “There’s just so much out there; we are definitely outnumbered,” he said.