PEOPLE smugglers are using social media to share sickening ‘half price’ family deals to lure desperate migrants on illegal crossings into Britain.
Brazen traffickers are targeting migrants on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok – with some offering to get them to the “City of Dreams” for around £3,000.
The Sun uncovered a number of accounts on Facebook and video-sharing app TikTok – as social media sites were slammed for not doing enough to stop smugglers from using their platforms to lure people into taking the “deadly trips”.
On one TikTok account, which includes the bio “A smuggler is a good boss”, videos of stowaways show desperate men and women emerge from trucks and packed onto small boats.
A caption alongside one clip filmed in the back of a lorry reads: “These five refugees are in a chicken coop without food and they see the fruit of those moments, at 4am, when they went to the promised land.”
In another video, migrants are seen crammed in an inflatable boat appearing to cross the English Channel with the caption “Gathering a small fortune on the French side of the UK”.
Desperate migrants are also shown in further clips in sleeping bags inside what appears to be a refrigerated truck.
The accounts go on to share scenic visions of UK cities such as Manchester and Newcastle, with one dubbing London ‘City of Dreams’.
TikTok removed the videos and accounts after being alerted by The Sun and the firm said it bans any users promoting human exploitation.
On Facebook, would-be traffickers include sick price lists offering discounts for children for smuggling operations into Britain and other European countries.
Kids are offered half-price places on smuggling missions which advertise entry to Britain for between £3,000 and £5,000.
The disturbing adverts come as the National Crime Agency hit out this week, condemning the sites for not taking down the posts promoting the life-threatening journeys.
Rob Jones, the NCA’s director of threat leadership, told Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee said once migrants had been lured by the promises on social media, smugglers then arranged the journeys on encrypted messaging services such as Telegram.
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch, said: “There is simply no excuse for [social media companies] to refuse to cooperate with the NCA in shutting down pages the agency believes are being used by criminal gangs to lure people into making deadly trips.”
Despite the warnings, videos were found in just minutes online – with one clip showing a group of migrants in the back of a lorry surrounded by what appear to be opened boxes, with the caption: “A little Kurdish treasure for a beautiful ride.”
Other Facebook posts advertise passages from Libya to Italy – a popular route for smugglers between Europe and the Middle East – offer places on boats for around £3,000 with help applying for asylum at the end of the treacherous journey.
Visa documents are also offered illegally on multiple Facebook pages with migrants told to message suppliers on encrypted messaging services with their details.
Home Office officials have launched a crackdown on smugglers targeting vulnerable migrants on social media but are calling on social media firms to do more.
A Home Office source said: “These are videos produced by criminal gangs who are earning a living exploiting vulnerable people.
“These so called ‘adverts’ are peddling criminality on social media. Pure and simple.
“The social media giants should act and remove this life endangering content from their platforms.”
The government is currently drawing up its own plans to bombard would-be illegal migrants with social media posts pleading with them not to risk their lives by paying smugglers to get them to Britain.
The ads will focus on Facebook users speaking certain languages, such as Kurdish.
Messages will include: “If you arrive in the UK illegally from a safe country like France, we can and will return you.”
Another is set to say: “People die making these crossings, do not risk your life.”
It comes in the wake of a series of Channel crossing tragedies in the last year as record-breaking numbers of desperate migrants have attempted to reach the UK illegally.
Last month, a family-of-five drowned in the Channel attempting to start a new life in Britain.
Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six, all drowned attempting to cross the Channel . The search for 15-month-old baby Artin was later called off.
Last October, 39 Vietnamese migrants died after being found in the lifeless in the back of a refrigerated lorry driven by Brit people smuggler Maurice Robinson, 25.
A record 7,200 people have reached UK shores in small boats so far this year.
The Sun contacted the users behind the TikTok accounts but did not receive any response.
The National Crime Agency has said other social media sites including Twitter and YouTube had also failed to remove posts linked to people smuggling.
Of the 1,218 social media pages the NCA requested to have closed down since January, fewer than half (578) were closed, with 485 remaining open and discussions ongoing about the rest.
Mr Jones said: “Social media and messaging platforms are a really good, dynamic, agile way for people to move migrants between them and groups to communicate. Those networks flourish because of their ability to do that.”
A TikTok spokesman told The Sun: “Our Community Guidelines make clear what content is acceptable on TikTok, and we invest in a combination of technologies and thousands of safety experts around the world to enforce those guidelines.
“We do not allow content on the platform that promotes human exploitation, including people trafficking.”
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A Facebook spokesperson said: “People-smuggling is illegal and any ads, posts, pages or groups that co-ordinate this activity are not allowed on Facebook.
“We work closely with law enforcement agencies around the world, including Europol, to identify, remove and report this illegal activity.”
The spokesperson added it does allow advice on illegal migration if it is to escape a life-threatening situation.