People smugglers in Egypt, Turkey turn to Facebook to lure migrants

One alleged people-smuggler uses an image of a luxury liner in a Facebook page advertising services. (Photo courtesy: Facebook/The Guardian)

People smugglers in Egypt and Turkey are using Facebook to openly advertise their services, amid soaring numbers of migrants left dead after embarking on dangerous Mediterranean crossings, it has been reported.

Dozens or even hundreds of smugglers are using social media to promote crossings, with some attempting to pass off their services as tourist trips or using images of luxury ships, according to The Guardian.

Many openly publish their phone numbers, prices and schedules in an attempt to drum up business.

One group called ‘Travel aid’ offers fake visas and passports, the newspaper reported, while other smugglers use their pages to blog about the progress of their clients across the sea, attracting the attention of worried relatives.

The news comes as the International Organization of Migration (IOM) released figures pointing to the rising number of shipwrecks and accidents involving migrant crossings.

The IOM said 1,829 migrants have perished in Mediterranean crossings so far this year, compared with 207 during the same period in 2014.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45