Culpeper Star-Exponent: Spanberger to social media giants: take steps to combat human smuggling


U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, this week urged the CEOs of TikTok, Meta, Twitter and Snapchat to take steps to combat the use of their platforms to recruit drivers to help with human smuggling operations.

According to federal and local law enforcement, there has been an uptick in transnational criminal organizations using social media to recruit drivers to transport recently-arrived undocumented migrants who entered the U.S., according to a Nov. 2 release from Spanberger.

The posts solicit drivers and offer thousands of dollars for only a few hours of transport, with drivers sometimes unaware that they are aiding a migrant-smuggling operation, the release stated.

Spanberger, in a letter to the companies, outlined issues related to cartels recruiting Americans on social media and called on the social media giants to do more to prevent human smuggling recruitment from taking place on their platforms.

The Congresswoman requested a briefing from the companies outlining current efforts to remove content and cooperate with law enforcement.

“I write deeply concerned about recent reporting from law enforcement officials on an uptick of smugglers using social media to recruit drivers for migrant-smuggling operations,” wrote Spanberger.

“Human smugglers…often take advantage of migrants in desperate situations and profit off influxes in migration. Additionally, transnational criminal organizations use a portion of smuggling profits to fuel their other criminal enterprises, such as drug trafficking,” she continued.

“In Virginia, MS-13 has used social media to recruit minors to commit crimes. Federal and local law enforcement work tirelessly to disrupt these networks of human smugglers and TCOs, and social media platforms must be vigilant and active in removing this content,” Spanberger wrote in the letter.

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