Human traffickers in the Middle East and Africa use social media to reach to immigrants. Often, people who decide to use these services are kidnapped and tortured. In order to get a ransom, smugglers send pictures of immigrants to their family members via social media. They typically use websites, private groups, Facebook’s and WhatsApp’s videos to gain customers and communicate with them or later with their families to enforce ransom.
Facebook in particular should help to overcome the extortions that are taking place especially in West Africa, says Leonard Doyle, Director of Media and Communication at the International Organisation for Migration. Doyle also suggests that Facebook should block websites used by traffickers, just like it blocks jihadist groups such as ISIS that used to promote themselves on that site. Doyle refers to the examples of messages that social media portals use to warn people who are looking for child pornography on those sites, and adds that they should use the same solution to stop traffickers. However, Facebook has ignored his suggestions by referring him to its low-level employees, who can do hardly anything to help solve the problem.