Social media, a showcase for the illicit traffic of migrants in Latin America and RD
The International Organization for Migration (IIM) alerted in a new study that in the region of Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, the majority of the offer of illicit traffic of migrants “happens on social networks and in messaging applications like WhatsApp or Telegram. ” In addition to establishing that the people under the illicit traffic of migrants are mostly men under 40, motivated to migrate mainly by security problems in their country of origin and the search for labor opportunities in another nation, the report says that most of them usually travel with at least one cell phone. According to the report “Information and Communication Technologies and Illicit Traffic of Migrants in Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic”, published this month by the IOM, it is more common for the cell phone to be used to communicate with their family and friends to keep them aware of their situation and the dangers of the road. They also use them as a geolocation tool on the immigration route.
According to a survey on “the purpose of using a cell phone on the immigration route by migrants”, most use it to communicate with their relatives, mostly men. Then, to use GPS, maps, and Google Maps, see news regarding trips and routes, and, finally, for entertainment. This phenomenon is due to multiple reasons, the main one being the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused an increase in people with a desire to migrate through the crisis. It is also a consequence of the acceleration of digitalization.
Both elements made people who are dedicated to migrant traffic “sophisticate their business” by making greater use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). This sophistication turned migrants traffic into an increasingly evasive network for government authorities, facing new modalities of this crime that escape traditional.