Sky News revealed on Thursday that smugglers who send illegal immigrants on the perilous journey to the UK in small boats or boats across the English Channel are publicly advertising their services on Facebook.

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On Wednesday, during one of these crossings in the waters near the French port of Calais, 27 people died while sailing on an overloaded buoy.

After this event, Sky News journalists writing on Facebook with Arabic and Kurdish terms such as “smuggler” and “British visa”, as well as the names of Calais, Dunkirk and England, discovered that people who organize smuggling are openly active on social media.

As described by Sky News, there are regular advertisements for routes to Europe and Great Britain, marked with British flags, and a picture of Big Ben or British Airways and Air France planes. One smuggler even claimed that he managed to obtain a British passport for his clients.

Web Ads

Sky News provided some of the classifieds that I found. The smugglers post their phone numbers on them and invite people to send them a private message to get more information, including about costs.

One ad says that customers will be legally allowed to enter the UK within three days and that the trip will be the “best, safest and easiest way”.

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One of the most active smugglers on Facebook is a man who claims to live in the Kurdish region of Iraq, according to Sky News. He claims to be able to get migrants to many countries, including the UK, “at reasonable cost”. On his Facebook profile, he describes himself as someone who “puts trust over profit”.

Another smuggler is posting ads on Facebook advertising that he will be able to get a British passport. The entrance is illustrated with the British flag and Big Ben. His post garnered 210 likes, and nearly 30 comments appeared under it. One of the men wrote: “Hello brother, I want to talk to you.” The smuggler replies, “Dear brother, call me,” encouraging him to send him a direct private message.

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Specially Created Pages

Some of the sites have been set up only to discuss people smuggling and to attract people looking to enter the UK and other countries. As described by Sky News, an example is the group’s website called “Smuggling to Europe with Guarantee” which has nearly 800 members. Her profile pictures and background pictures are taken from news websites. A recent post on this page was published on November 10 and includes a video showing migrants in Dunkirk, France.

It’s not just smugglers posting their ads. Regular users ask about costs and methods. They also share news about other migrant crossings. One man asked if a German visa would allow him to enter Great Britain, another replies that it would not.

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What does the owner of Facebook say?

As Sky News reports five months ago, British Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote to social media companies, including Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, indicating that they needed to do more to remove posts dangerously encouraging migrants to cross.

In response to a Sky News inquiry about these types of ads, a spokesperson for Meta, the Facebook owner, stated: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these tragic events. Coordination of people smuggling is not allowed on Facebook, and we are working with law enforcement to fix that. We are using intelligence. artificial intelligence, human verification, and reports from our users and trusted partners to detect and remove such posts.”

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