Quoted: Facebook's impact on human smuggling

“I don’t need to advertise because Facebook is what convinces them to go.”

– Alan Villeda, a “coyote” who smuggles migrants from Honduras to the U.S., telling Reuters about how social networks have made his job easier. According to the report, Facebook and Skype are widely used by Central America migrants and smugglers alike, offering updates and tips, setting up rendezvous locations and even recommendations for coyotes. Facebook is proving to be a major factor in giving poor Hondurans incentive to make the dangerous trek, the report says, providing both an easy way for rumors to spread — such as that the U.S. offers amnesty to women and children — and status updates from those who made it and have settled into a better life in America. “There’s lots of people who haven’t seen their families for a long time. When they arrive, they write about it on Facebook,” Villeda said.

 

At top: A Honduran migrant jumps on a train heading north as it leaves from Tultitlan, on the outskirts of Mexico City, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Mike Murphy Mike Murphy (367 Posts)

Mike Murphy is a web producer at the Mercury News, and also writes for Good Morning Silicon Valley and 60-Second Business Break.