Migrants post videos on how to stow away
People traffickers advertise services on social media as Youtube posts show how to survive refrigerated trucks
Migrants are using the internet to teach others how to enter the UK illegally in refrigerated lorries like the one used in the Essex container tragedy, as police chiefs demand a crackdown by social media giants. Migrants are posting Youtube videos that include a teenager in the back of a refrigerated lorry boasting he is just 40 minutes from England. Another video shows a migrant lying face down on the top of a lorry in a freight park in an unidentified Channel port.
MIGRANTS are using social media to teach people how to enter the UK illegally in refrigerated lorries like the one used in the Essex container tragedy, as police chiefs demand tech giants crack down on the posts.
The illegal migrants are flagrantly posting Youtube videos including a teenager in the back of a refrigerated lorry boasting that he is just 40 minutes from England.
Talking to camera, the shivering youth says: “I thank God who has helped me but to all of you who think to make the same journey to England, it’s very difficult. We hope God will help us when we go to England, it is hard, this refrigerator.”
Another video published in March on Youtube shows a migrant lying face down on the top of a lorry in a freight park in an unidentified Channel port. A third shows three men laughing and joking under canvas in a lorry as they make a night-time journey into the UK.
People smugglers have also posted “adverts” on Facebook promoting their ability to get people into Europe with Tripadvisor-style feedback comments from “satisfied” customers.
The disclosure follows the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants who suffocated after being transported into the UK in a refrigerated lorry. These trucks are used because they can evade detection by thermal imaging equipment.
Tom Dowdall, deputy director of the National Crime Agency (NCA), said: “There is an awful lot more the technology companies and internet providers like Facebook can and should be doing to prevent criminals and crime networks from being able to advertise and communicate their activities, given the tech power and brain power that they have to resolve and solve these problems.”
Steve Harvey, a former senior Europol officer, said it made a mockery of government claims that organised crime was “underground” and that law enforcement needed more investigative tools.
“It is not underground, it is in your face,” he said. “These guys are advertising on social media what they do. Trafficking migrants is trafficking a commodity. It is not difficult to find. The problem is that we are not proactive enough.
“These criminals are operating in a very comfortable environment where the likelihood of intervention, detection, arrest, prosecution and conviction is rare, limited and unlikely.”
The videos are primarily by Albanians, the biggest trafficked foreign national group, followed by Vietnamese, Chinese, Nigerians, Romanians, Sudanese, Eritreans and Indians.
The Facebook “adverts” headed “Road to Europe, Road to Life” include images of ships boasting: “It’s the best option because all its parts are made from iron with a thickness of 12mm. The boat engine is 800 horsepower and its speed 14mph while it’s empty.”
Posts claiming to be from migrants crossing the Mediterranean include one saying they have been picked up by an “Italian battleship”, adding: “Faysal
and I are fine and safe. We are arriving tomorrow morning.” Another, however, complains: “There is no [phone] charger in the battleship.”
Mr Dowdall said: “Social media is really important to organised crime networks offering their services to people across the Mediterranean, so offering their vessels to people.
“They are highlighting how reliable and safe they are when they are anything but reliable and safe. It’s really an important part of the marketplace that organised crime networks set up.
“Facebook is prevalent but there are other internet service providers, platforms and social media platforms that are used as well.”
Another 39 migrants attempting to cross the Channel in four boats were intercepted yesterday and brought ashore by Border Force.
The migrants, all claiming to be Iranian, were handed over to immigration authorities at Dover.
‘There is an awful lot more tech companies can do to prevent criminals from advertising their activities’
A border official leads away a migrant who came ashore at Dungeness, Kent, yesterday. Left, a man is filmed travelling inside a sealed container to enter the UK illegally
A migrant hides face down on a lorry