Migrant Smugglers Advertise On TikTok And YouTube: Report

Dozens of accounts appear to be run by smugglers.
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: In this photo illustration, a TikTok logo is displayed on an iPhone on February 28, 2023 in London, England. This week, the US government and European Union's parliament have announced bans on installing the popular social media app on staff devices. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Migrant smugglers have been brazenly advertising their services influencer-style on TikTok and YouTube, flaunting their participation in the illegal multi-billion dollar industry.

The human smugglers, who are linked to drug cartels, advertise with high-quality TikToks and YouTube videos that show them illegally transporting migrants across the U.S. southern border, the New York Post reported.

The videos show the “coyotes,” as they are known in Spanish, taking migrants across rivers — and migrants smiling in “stash houses” across the border.

Smugglers can charge upwards of $10,000 per person transported. One alleged smuggler told the Post he charges about $10,500 to smuggle a Mexican person over the border.

One YouTube channel with the handle @ELINMIGRANTEAVENTURERO or “the migrant adventurer” has more than 56,000 subscribers and shows smugglers in action, including a video showing a family in the back of a vehicle.

The channel claims to be just “documenting the migrant experience.”

However, once the Post got in contact with Soy Xulen, who runs the channel, he told them that the price for a smuggling service depends on the country the migrant is traveling from.

One video from the channel shows a small boy who appears to be about seven or eight years old smiling and giving a thumbs up as he arrives at a safe house. Another video shows the location of Border Patrol officers.

On TikTok, dozens of accounts appear to be run by smugglers. Some appeared from a search for the keywords “sueno americano” (“American dream”), “levanto” (“pick up”), and “inmigrantes” (“immigrants”).

One video showed footage of young migrants crossing the Rio Grande. Another video showed alleged smugglers at a border fence hole and later showing stacks of cash in a vehicle.

The Post reported that the alleged coyotes target people from El Salvador and Honduras with specific TikTok hashtags.

Drug cartels make about $13 billion per year through human smuggling, up from $500 million in 2018.

The videos do not warn migrants about the dangers of traveling to the border, especially with a smuggler, which can include extremely poor conditions and even death.

Last year, 53 migrants, most from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, died after being trapped for hours in a sweltering semi-truck, which was abandoned in a desolate area on the outskirts of San Antonio, where temperatures rose into the 100s.

In a particularly gruesome detail, some of those found in the truck appeared to have roasted to death dusted with steak seasoning, a possible attempt to disguise the smell of people as the smugglers crossed the border.

Sometimes smugglers will demand more money halfway through the journey, threatening to disappear with migrants’ relatives if they do not pay up.

President Biden has halted construction of former President Trump’s border wall and scaled back deportations, as he promised during his campaign. The administration rarely deports any illegal immigrants from the interior of the country.

Experts say these policies encourage migrants to try their luck entering illegally and offer smugglers with dangerous practices an opportunity to take advantage.

“We say don’t come because we will not let you in, but our policies encourage the opposite,” RJ Hauman, director of government relations and communications at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) told The Daily Wire last year. “Migrants around the world have taken note of this, and they’re using dangerous cartels, smugglers, and traffickers, to make the journey in. And the end result can be tragic situations.”

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