The Texas Department of Public Safety is warning parents that human traffickers are attempting to lure kids into smuggling migrants across the border using apps like Instagram and Tik Tok.
The traffickers are reportedly offering teens money to pick migrants up in Mexico and bring them across the border.
“Migrants will cross over the Rio Grande from Mexico traveling through private property to get to state highways. That’s where teen drivers will pick up migrants helping them travel to bigger cities like San Antonio, Austin or Houston,” Fox News reports.
According to the Texas DPS, recruiting teens on social media is a new tactic that they had not seen in the past.
“The smuggling organizations are starting to use and recruit juveniles through social media platforms. Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter, even using WhatsApp for those encrypted messaging,” Christopher Olivarez, a public information officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told Fox. “There’s always been an issue with human smuggling. But what we’re seeing right now lately, which we have never seen in prior years is the use of juveniles. So, the smuggling organizations are starting to use and recruit juveniles through social media platforms.”
“They’re not coming out saying we need drivers for human smuggling or drivers for drug smuggling. I mean, they’ll typically just say we need drivers wanted and drivers needed, and they’ll show videos of stacks of money,” Oliveras added.
Texas State Troopers arrested a 13-year-old last week who was helping smuggle migrants.
“These are illegal immigrants that are traversing these ranches, privately owned ranches without the consent of the owner. We’ve encountered criminal gang members and MS13 suspected cartel members,” Oliveras said.