Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

UN Calls on Facebook, Whatsapp to Stop Libya Traffickers

  • Published on
    December 8, 2017
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Debt Bondage, Forced Labor, Human Trafficking, Prevention, Slavery In conflict
Hero Banner

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) — also known as the UN Migration Agency — is calling on social media giants Facebook and Whatsapp to be more responsible in blocking traffickers from using their platforms to lure West African migrants to Libya.

In recent weeks, footage of slave markets in Libya has shocked the world, and social media has had its own role in furthering the abuses. Speaking to Thomson Reuters Foundation, IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle explained that traffickers often use social media to trick African migrants with promises of jobs in Europe. The platforms have even becomes tools for demanding ransom:

When migrants are tortured, video is also sometimes sent back to their families over WhatsApp, as a means of extortion, he said.

“We really … ask social media companies to step up and behave in a responsible way when people are being lured to deaths, to their torture,” Doyle told a Geneva news briefing.

IOM has been in discussions with social media providers about its concerns, Doyle said, adding: “And so far to very little effect. What they say is ‘please tell us the pages and we will shut them down’.

“It is not our job to police Facebook’s pages. Facebook should police its own pages,” he said.

Part of the problem lies in Facebook’s rapid expansion into West Africa, where there are high levels of unemployment. Doyle added that this is what makes it easy for traffickers to prey on migrants: “Facebook is pushing out, seeking market share across West Africa and pushing out so-called free basics, which allows … a ‘dumb phone’ to get access to Facebook. So you are one click from the smuggler, one click from the lies.”

IOM has helped 13,000 migrants to return voluntarily to Nigeria, Guinea, and other countries from Libya this year alone. It provides them with transport and pocket money and documents their abuses.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Asylum seekers face ongoing inhumanity by U.K. government

The Rwanda Bill, discriminatory GPS tagging coupled with a raft of other inhumane legislation, all underline the U.K. government’s current uncompassionate and often brutal response to those seeking asylum at its shores. And despite ample evidence of the ruthless results these policies have led to, the government is expanding its scope and remains unapologetic. Meanwhile migrants, often fleeing violence and exploitation including modern slavery, pay the

| Wednesday May 15, 2024

Read more