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'It’s like a business’: Experts say cartels turn to social media to recruit workers, clients

3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago Friday, April 16 2021 Apr 16, 2021 April 16, 2021 10:56 PM April 16, 2021 in News - Local

Experts say that human smugglers are taking social media to take advantage of desperate migrants looking to make the journey into the United States.

Criminal Justice Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Steve Romero says the cartels have learned and expanded, like a "business enterprise"; trying to make the most money at what they're doing.

A recent investigation by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) suggests that Facebook makes it easier for smugglers to attract asylum seekers by linking their searches to other smugglers.

"From TikTok to Facebook, you name it, they're using it," Romero said. "All to get the word out that they can get people into the county. They're spreading the word that the border is open."

He says the false hope is causing Central American migrants to give up life savings and sometimes more for a chance at a better life.

"People are desperate," he said. "And you're showing them, 'hey the border's open. For this much money, I can get you there safely.' Which of course is a lie a majority of the time."

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