Facebook Under Fire Over Trafficking

The UN agency in charge of migration has called on tech giant Facebook to help curb the use of its platform by people smugglers, the Reuters news agency reports.

Leonard Doyle, the spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that smugglers used Facebook to lure would-be migrants from West Africa.

“We think it’s time for some grown-up responsibility by the social media companies writ-large for their platforms which are clearly having a very detrimental role on young vulnerable populations across West Africa,” Mr Doyle said at a media briefing in Geneva, Reuters reports.

Videos of migrants being tortured were sometimes sent to families on Whats App, a messaging platform owned by Facebook, as a means of extortion, he is quoted as saying.

Social media firms were “giving a turbo-charged communications channel to criminals, to smugglers, to traffickers, to exploiters”, Mr Doyle added, Reuters reports.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, mostly through Libya.

Reports have emerged showing migrants being held in detention camps and sold in slave markets in the North African nation.

IOM announced that it was repatriating 4,000 migrants to Niger and 167 to Guinea as part of a voluntary repatriation of 15,000 by the end of this month.

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