Businesses are increasingly using social media — even the illegal ones. Now, even smugglers have taken to the Facebook to woo their clients. The human smugglers are offering desperate migrants passage across the Mediterranean to Europe, according to a Financial Times report.
The paper reported the existence of several Facebook pages in Arabic offering passage to Europe, many via Libya to Italy, but others from Turkey to Greece. And they promise a comfortable journey, with some of them even claiming to be doing the smuggling quite "ethically".
On a closed Facebook group offering tips to would-be migrants, a person, who goes under the pseudonym of Abu Moaz advertises crossings by inflatable boat to Greece.
The voyage lasts about an hour-and-a-half and costs $950 per person. Anyone, interested can speak to him via the WhatsApp or Viber numbers on the site. The boat leaves from the Turkish coastline somewhere between Bodrum and Izmir. "It is people smuggling, no more and no less," he was quoted as saying by the FT. However, insisted that unlike other smugglers, he travels with the migrants on the boat to ensure they reach their destination. "Others just show the passengers how to operate the engine, but they can get lost and run out of petrol. I will only take 20 people, though the boat can accommodate 25," he added.
Abu Moaz is dismissive of the people smugglers, who send migrants in dangerously overloaded boats. It is impossible to verify the identity of any of the groups behind the Facebook pages, but the "Migration from Libya to Italy" page has more than 4,600 "likes", frequent postings and a lively comment field.
Facebook said that it removes content related to smuggling only when it is reported to them.